ME NEXT? Former Richmond Valley councillor Sandra Humphrys at a meeting of the previous council.
ME NEXT? Former Richmond Valley councillor Sandra Humphrys at a meeting of the previous council.

By-election costs sparks Richmond Valley backlash

SANDRA Humphrys missed out on a seat on the Richmond Valley Council at last September's elections.

And although she gained the next highest number of votes, under current election law the former councillor can't step up to fill the vacancy on the council created when Cr Ray Jeffery was killed in a car accident just three months after the last poll.

Instead, voters will go back to the polls on March 14 to elect one new councillor at an estimated cost to ratepayers of up to $100,000.

Mrs Humphrys said many people had said to her that they did not support the cost of another election.

“People have been saying they do not want another election and there should be a way of avoiding it,” she said.

Ms Humphrys said the person with the next highest number of votes should automatically fill any vacancy created on council if a by-election was called within two years of the last election.

Mrs Humphrys intends to run in next month's by-election.

Cr Charlie Cox said that when a by-election was called within 12 months of a council election, the next person in line should automatically be moved into the seat if they were still interested.

After one year, if a seat became vacant a voluntary postal ballot should be held instead of an election. “The savings would be considerable,” he said.

Cr Cox said the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW had asked councils to submit a list of Electoral Commission bloopers and mistakes from the last election.

The list was being compiled in response to a statement made by the Electoral Commission last week that local governments made too many mistakes to run their own elections.



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