THE City of Stirling is blaming a delay in sending ballot papers for a lower than usual response rate ahead of Saturday’s council election and is urging ratepayers to vote in person.
Governance manager Jamie Blanchard said the WA Electoral Commission was late sending out voting packages, which had resulted in a delay in votes being returned.
“As of 14 October 2019, only 20 per cent of voters had returned their vote,” he said.
“That means four out of five voters have not taken the opportunity to have their say on who should be the mayor of Stirling or their ward councillor.
“As it may now be too late now to return your vote by mail, we are encouraging people to drop them off instead, to make sure their vote counts.”
The response rate had risen to 23.6 per cent by Wednesday, with the Commission saying about 34,571 of the 146,393 postal packages had been returned.
Last year’s voter turnout rate in the City was 27.04 per cent.
A Commission spokesperson said the printing of all 1.53 million postal vote packages and their lodgement with Australia Post occurred as expected but distribution was impacted by the timing of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend with no deliveries taking place on the Monday public holiday.
“Producing and lodging such volumes is a significant undertaking and takes place progressively,” they said.
“Likewise, Australia Post is unable to process and deliver such volumes in just a few days.
“It is a fact that the City of Stirling packages were among the last printed and lodged and hence completed packages for local governments lodged earlier started to be returned to the central processing centre before those for the City of Stirling.”
Stirling ratepayers can return their vote in person at Inglewood, Mirrabooka, Osborne and Scarborough libraries until 5pm on Friday, October 18, and replacement ballot papers can be issued where required.
The City of Stirling administration centre will be receiving votes until Saturday at 6pm.
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