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Candidates court confused voters

Tuesday, 1st March, 2011

DEVOTED: Candidates in City Council’s by-election, Independent Dave Gallagher, Labor’s Maureen Clark and Independent Larry Angell, are handing out how to vote cards for the next two weeks during pre-polling. DEVOTED: Candidates in City Council’s by-election, Independent Dave Gallagher, Labor’s Maureen Clark and Independent Larry Angell, are handing out how to vote cards for the next two weeks during pre-polling.

By Gina Wilson

Voters were confused as pre-polling for City Council's by-election began, candidates said yesterday.

But with two elections in two weeks local voters could be excused for mixing up the State and council elections.

Locals must vote in a City Council by-election on March 12 after a seat became vacant with the death on Christmas Day of Councillor Jamie Mitchell.

But they have to front up to vote again just two weeks later, on March 26, when the NSW State Election takes place.

Labor's Maureen Clarke and the two Independent candidates, Larry Angell and Dave Gallagher, said they had to explain to voters taking advantage of pre-polling yesterday that they were voting in the local, not State, government election.

"There is a little bit of confusion between State and City Council," said Independent candidate for the City Council, Dave Gallagher.

"We are having to explain it is the Council election not State Government. None of us here are John Williams or Neville Gasmier," Maureen Clark said.

Council had asked the NSW Electoral Commission if it could coincide its by-election with the March 26 NSW election. But that was knocked back as local government laws state that a by-election must be held within three months of a seat being vacated.

Pre-polling for the Council by-election is available until March 11, excluding weekends, at 178 Argent Street, opposite the National Parks and Wildlife office. It allows people who are unable on election day to still cast their vote.

Pre-polling for the NSW State Election does not begin until March 14, two days after the Council by-election.

The three candidates said they would spend as much time as possible during the next two weeks handing out how to vote cards.

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