Residents urged to get their votes in

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

Bunbury voters have been reminded that if they do not cast their vote in the Local Government election, they have no right to complain about council decisions.

The number of returned voting packages for Bunbury City Council sat at just over 24 per cent on Friday, according to the Western Australian Electoral Commission.

Voters have until October 21 to return their postal ballot papers but with election day a Saturday and postal delays unpredictable, residents are being urged to mail their packages back promptly.

Electoral Commissioner David Kerslake said it was important the community had its say.

“Local governments make important decisions and are the area of government that is closest to all of us,” Mr Kerslake said. “You forgo all right to complain about local government decisions if you don’t join in.”

At Bunbury’s last election in 2015, just 30 per cent of voting packages were returned with 6375 of 21,217 electors voting.

There were also 92 late returns, 655 in unclaimed mail and 140 rejected voter packages because declarations had not been signed or were missing completely.

Bunbury acting chief executive officer Mal Osborne said the council strongly encouraged voters to have their say and play a part in the city’s decisions.

“We are trying to engage with our community but it needs to be a two-way communication,” Mr Osborne said.

“Part of that is the community taking the responsibility of choosing its councillors.”

“The community is encouraged to get their votes in the post sooner rather than later to ensure their voice is heard.”

Ballot papers can also be lodged in the ballot box at the City of Bunbury administration building.

Polling closes at 6pm on October 21 with the administration centre open from 8am on the day to accept forms.

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