ON THE heels of the Kempsey Shire Council election being postponed to December 4, councillor Leo Hauville is of the opinion that mail ballots should go ahead instead.
The elections were supposed to take place in September last year, but due to COVID concerns, all NSW local government elections were put back by 12 months.
They were due to take place on September 4 this year, but the COVID outbreak in Sydney has forced an additional three-month postponement.
The polls are organised by the NSW Electoral Commission, and by legislation have to proceed on the same date, which means even though there may be no COVID cases in the Macleay, the local council has to follow suit with the rest of NSW.
Cr Hauville believes that mail ballots would be a suitable substitute instead of delaying the election further.
"Basing on what happened with Victoria last year, they had their local government elections right across the state and they used postal ballots and it worked, they had no health issues with what happened at all, and no one is out and about at polling booths," Cr Hauville said.
"It would be cheaper as you don't have people at pre-poll and polling booths all around Kempsey Shire. And the issue is they are gambling that it (the outbreak) will be over before December, but as we know the pandemic has a life of its own and we hope we can overcome it, but can't be sure."
Kempsey Shire Council general manager Craig Milburn noted: "The Government have postponed it on the basis of COVID and the pressures on the electoral commission where they are finding it very difficult to be able to ensure a safe election in September."
"The December election is a combination of face to face voting, pre poll voting, postal voting and Ivoting (online) to a select range of people."
"They have to be on the (same) date because the date is actually set in legislation, even if we wanted to run it now, it is legally not possible to do it."
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