No delay for council poll date

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THE state government has confirmed that this year’s council elections will go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Frankston residents will vote by mail on 24 October this year. A media release put out by the state government read that “the Chief Health Officer has advised that it is safe for the postal election to proceed this year.”

“To ensure the election is safe, and in an acknowledgement of physical distancing requirements, longer candidate statements will be allowed in the Victorian Electoral Commission Voter Information packs and guidance will be available on suitable and safe campaigning methods,” the statement read.

Local government minister Adem Somyurek said “Victorians have the right to a democratic say on who represents them at all levels of government.”

“By making every vote a postal vote, we’re ensuring this vital democratic process is conducted in a safe manner that also allows for the participation of more voters.”

Frankston councillor Glenn Aitken told The Times that he “cannot think for one moment why it hasn’t been delayed for a 12 month period”.

“Around September there will still be massive impacts of coronavirus,” he said. “I think we risk the dislocation of councils and having an intake of people not acquainted with local government at a time when society will be struggling at every level.”

The state government has also announced that it will spend $50,000 of taxpayer money to “encourage women to run for council”.

First published in the Frankston Times – 25 May 2020

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