By Claire Ottaviano
ON average, only a quarter of ratepayers in the eastern and hills region have so far voted in this Saturday’s local government elections.
Despite the low postal vote return, it is looking like voter turnout in the Cities of Swan and Kalamunda and Shire of Mundaring will surpass total returns from the previous 2019 election, according to Western Australian Electoral Commission statistics on Wednesday afternoon.
In the City of Swan’s Whiteman ward, 26.05 per cent of the votes had been returned, just ticking over the 2019 return of 26 per cent.
The Midland/Guildford ward had returned 21.96 per cent, the Swan Valley/Gidgegannup ward 25.25 per cent, Pearce ward 20.90 per cent and Altone ward 26.15 per cent.
In 2019, those wards returned 25.48 per cent, 25.89 per cent, 22.31 per cent and 26.37 respectively.
The non-compulsory election will cost the City of Swan $400,000 which equates to about $10 a vote if only a quarter of the population takes part.
In the City of Kalamunda the return is similar.
In Kalamunda’s north ward, 24.89 per cent of the votes had been returned, creeping up on the 2019 election’s 27.85 per cent return and the south east ward has seen 24.76 per cent returned, a fair bit behind the previous election’s return of 33.64 per cent.
The south west ward is keeping pace to beat the 24.05 per cent return in 2019, with 20.89 per cent of the votes returned so far.
The north west ward has already been filled by Dylan O’Connor and Lisa Cooper who ran unopposed.
The Shire of Mundaring is also sitting at about a quarter of returned votes.
The east ward had returned 23.68 per cent by Wednesday, with 26.38 per cent returned in 2019, the south ward returned 24.77 per cent with 34.07 per cent returned in 2017 (2019 elected unopposed), and the west ward had returned 24.72 per cent, already going well above the 20.13 per cent returned in 2019.
Paige McNeil was elected unopposed in the central ward.
Postal votes must be received by the electoral commission before 6pm on Saturday.
If voting packages cannot be returned by post in time, they can be delivered by hand to the City of Kalamunda up to polling day at the City’s Administration Centre, to the Shire of Mundaring at the Administration office or to the City of Swan at the City’s Administration building before polling day and the Midland Town Hall on polling day.
Successful candidates will be sworn in at the City of Swan on Monday, October 18 and the City of Kalamunda and Shire of Mundaring on Tuesday, October 19.
As all local government areas have council elected mayors, mayors and deputy mayors will be voted in after the swearing in ceremonies.
Catch up all the election coverage in next week’s edition of Echo News.