More than a third of council votes already cast

THURSDAY UPDATE: Statewide return rate as at 3.10pm: 43.21%. Central Highlands: 988 votes or 39.54%. Derwent Valley: 3398 votes or 40.66% returned.

EARLIER: Last week saw Australia Post deliver more than 400,000 postal ballot packs across the state for this year’s local government election. As of this afternoon, almost 157,000 votes have already been returned, meaning more than a third of the eligible voters have done their duty so far.

Voters in the broader Derwent Valley region are slightly behind the state average. In the Central Highlands municipality, 32.81% of votes have been cast. Across the border in the Derwent Valley municipality, 35.8% or 2989 votes have been returned.

Recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 mean that voting in local government elections is now compulsory for all electors on the state roll. Unlike attendance voting on polling day for parliamentary elections, local government elections in Tasmania are conducted by postal ballot.

Anyone who has not yet received their ballot pack can obtain a replacement pack from their local council office. There is also a ballot box at each council for anyone who would prefer to lodge their votes that way. Ballots will be received until 2pm on October 25.

Impartial assisted voting

At each of the 29 councils, a private and separate space will be provided for a professional, confidential and impartial voter assistance service. This space will be used by people who require assistance to vote. The Tasmanian Electoral Commission will employ independent, professional experienced polling staff at each location to assist the voter with the voting process. In addition, COVID-safe measures will be in place, including the wearing of N95 masks by staff.

Electors can book a 30-minute period during designated days. Voters using the service should bring with them their ballot pack delivered in the post. If the voter does not have their ballot pack, the staff member may assist them in applying for a supplementary ballot pack while they are at the council. Once the voting process is complete, the staff member can assist the voter to place their completed postal vote in the ballot box onsite. If required, there is the option for voters to receive car-side assistance. This means the voter can remain in their vehicle and vote while in the car with assistance from the staff member.

Voters will be encouraged to go to the office of the council for which they vote. If this is not possible, they can go to a different council, but supplementary ballot packs will not be available. It is expected that there will be at least one full day of this voting service at each council. Click here to view the schedule and make a booking.

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