Calls defer Victoria's local government elections have elicited mixed responses from Grampians mayors.
In Horsham, these ballots will be mailed to residents from October 6 to October 8, and must be returned by 6pm on Friday October 23.
The Municipal Association of Victoria renewed its calls for a postponement on Friday, noting the NSW government has deferred its elections, now scheduled for 2021.
"Many rural and regional councils are highlighting concerns that some wards may not even have candidates prepared to run for election in the current environment," said MAV's Deputy President-Rural, Cr Ruth Gstrein, in a statement.
Northern Grampians Shire mayor Murray Emerson said the MAV's views reflected his own.
"As a board member of the Municipal Association of Victoria, I support the MAV's position that in light of dangers presented by COVID-19, it would be better to postpone the upcoming council elections," he said.
"However, the minister for local government has indicated the elections will go ahead in October and that is what we are preparing for."
By contrast Ararat Rural City mayor Jo Armstrong said deferring council elections could come at the expense of the community transitioning to life during and after coronavirus.
"I surveyed councillors earlier in the year regarding their feeling on this issue when the pandemic was taking its effect on the way we carry out our democratic responsibility. Our council is very keen to see the elections continue via the usual process," she said.
Cr Armstrong said ratepayers across Victoria had had the option of voting by post at previous elections, the difference this year being all councils across the state will be voted for in this way.
"Sitting councillors are always going to have an existing profile to which the voting public can refer, so i think it's a subjective argument to say (holding the elections in 2020) will disadvantage candidates that aren't already councillors," she said.
"The pandemic has also changed the landscape for candidates' opportunities to communicate to voters, so in some ways it could be argued it's a more level playing field."
Cr Armstrong said extending current councils' terms from four years to five could also lead to a spate of resignations.
"There are councillors who have made a commitment until October, and are ready for that to come through to its natural end. So then we would have by-elections, and you're asking the community and candidates to go through the exact same process that would be happening in October anyway," she said.
"By-elections cost several tens of thousands of dollars."
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