‘Unnecessary’ or ‘not a problem’? Council candidates split over ballot re-draw

HERE WE GO AGAIN: The NSW Electoral Commission reinstated Glenn Taylor as a candidate for September's council elections and will conduct a new ballot draw on Tuesday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

HERE WE GO AGAIN: The NSW Electoral Commission reinstated Glenn Taylor as a candidate for September's council elections and will conduct a new ballot draw on Tuesday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

The Greens lead candidate for the upcoming Orange City Council election has questioned why a second ballot draw is required.

On Friday night Stephen Nugent and the other 86 candidates received notification the ballot for the September 9 election would be re-drawn at 2pm on Tuesday.

The reason for the second allocation is Councillor Glenn Taylor’s successful appeal against his exclusion from Wednesday’s first draw.

Mr Nugent said Cr Taylor’s reinstatement was a just outcome, but starting the balloting process from scratch was nonsensical.

“Why do we need another ballot draw?” he asked.

“The draw’s been done and it seems a little unnecessary.

“Glenn should be reinstated onto the top of his ticket.”

NOT HAPPY: “Glenn should be reinstated onto the top of his ticket, why do we need another ballot draw?” - Stephen Nugent.

NOT HAPPY: “Glenn should be reinstated onto the top of his ticket, why do we need another ballot draw?” - Stephen Nugent.

Mr Nugent’s group of Janelle Baylis, Anwen Carney, Angeline Shoveller, David Mallard and Samuel Baylis secured third spot in the initial draw.

He argued re-doing the balloting process almost a week after the scheduled date could hamper his own ticket’s campaign and those of other candidates.

“It seems unfair for the people who did the right thing,” Mr Nugent said.

“It creates delays for people creating their own electoral material.”

The Tony Mileto-led ticket of Paula Townsend, Colin Young, Jason Wright, Rose Hodgins, Kerry Rains drew second position in Wednesday’s first ballot.

NOT CONCERNED: “People will vote for the person, their group or the policies" - Tony Mileto.

NOT CONCERNED: “People will vote for the person, their group or the policies" - Tony Mileto.

Mr Mileto said he would have liked to retain that spot but it was more important for democracy to prevail, and if that meant a re-draw he would have no complaints.

“The legislation says Glenn can stand [for election], so he can stand,” he said.

Cr Taylor’s Byng Street colleague Jeff Whitton – whose ticket featuring Gavin Hillier, Libby Brown, Nino Belmonte, Heather Lean and Allan Dhatt took the coveted number one slot in the first draw – was similarly pragmatic.

HAPPY ENOUGH: “If people think I can do the job, they’re going to find me" - Councillor Jeff Whitton.

HAPPY ENOUGH: “If people think I can do the job, they’re going to find me" - Councillor Jeff Whitton.

The chair of council’s Employment and Economic Development Policy Committee said the prospect of losing the first place on the ballot was “not a problem”.

“If people think I can do the job, they’re going to find me,” Cr Whitton said.

“If you’re relying on where you’re positioned then you’re probably not going to get elected anyway.”

Being drawn in the top slot has traditionally been seen as an advantage, with a small percentage of the electorate believed to cast their vote for the first name they see on the sheet.

But all three candidates argued ballot position was a vastly overrated commodity.

“People will vote for the person, their group or the policies,” Mr Mileto said.

Mr Nugent concurred, saying he was “not convinced that being on the far left of the [ballot] paper is the ideal position”.

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