POLL: Eight candidates vying for council seat

REGION - Voters in the South West Ward will have the choice of eight candidates to fill the one vacant seat in the Northern Grampians Shire Council by-election.

The extraordinary vacancy in the South West Ward was created following the resignation of Cr Paul Russell in December.

With eight candidates vying for just the one vacant position on council, this latest by-election has drawn unprecedented interest across the region.

At the last general council election in 2012, nine candidates nominated to contest five seats on the council.

Returning Officer Ian Maclean conducted the ballot draw for candidates on Tuesday, after nominations officially closed at 12 noon.

Mr Maclean said just prior to the nominations closing, five candidates had confirmed they would stand for the vacant seat, but an additional three candidates nominated prior to the noon deadline.

The ballot draw on Tuesday has resulted in the candidates being listed in the following order on the ballot sheet: Sam Haamid, Ross Clementson, Dean Thomas, Don Gardiner, Jason Hosemans, Graeme Anyon, Stephen Odgers and Barry Marrow.

Statements for all candidates will be available on the Victorian Electoral Commission website from Monday and will be included in the ballot material to be sent to every voter.

Ballot material will be sent to voters from Tuesday, 25 February.

This by-election for he South West Ward is being conducted entirely by post.

Mr Maclean said residents should ensure they read all information contained within their ballot pack.

"To make sure their vote counts, voters should carefully read and follow the instructions in the ballot pack," Mr Maclean said.

All completed ballot papers must reach the Returning Officer by 6pm on Friday, March 14 or they cannot be counted. 

Voters who haven't received their ballot pack by Wednesday, March 5, should call 131 832 during business hours for a replacement pack. 

Voting is compulsory for voters who were on the State roll for this by-election at 4pm on Friday, January 17. 

Enrolled residents may be fined if they do not vote - this includes homeowners and tenants. 

You are encouraged to vote (but won't be fined if you don't) if: 

You are aged 70 years or over; or 

You live outside the municipality; or 

You applied to Council to be on the roll. 

The councillor elected at this by-election will sit on council until the next general council election in October 2016.

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