Richmond Valley by-election 2009

ON Saturday Mark 14, the Richmond Valley district heads back to the polls for a by-election to fill the position held by former councillor Ray Jeffery. To help you make the most informed decision, we've brought together everything you need to know about the by-election.

Why is there a by-election?

On December 19 2008, Councillor Ray Jeffery was tragically killed in a two car collision on Woodburn-Evans Head Road. The Local Government Act of 1993 states that a by-election must be held inside three months of the vacancy occurring.

What do I have to do?

The by-election will be conducted just like a normal election. On Saturday March 14, if you are an enrolled voter, you are required to attend a polling office and cast your vote. You can view a map of polling locations on the NSW Electoral Commission website.

If there is not a polling location near you or you know you will not be in the area on polling day, you may choose to cast a postal vote. Postal vote applications close at 5pm on Monday March 9, and completed postal votes must be received by 6pm on Monday March 16. You need to apply to do a postal vote by filling in a form which is available to download from the NSW Electoral Commission website.

For more information about whether you are elegibile to cast a postal vote, visit the Electoral Commission's webpage on postal votes.

Alternatively, you can do a pre-poll from Monday March 2 to Friday March 16. The NSW Electoral Commission gives the following information on pre-polling:

"To vote pre-poll you attend the office and make an oral declarationthat you are eligible. You will be issued with ballot paper/s which must be completed in the office and returned folded. The ballot paper/sare enclosed in a declaration envelope which you must sign. It is sealed and kept in a secure ballot box until after the close of poll on election day. All pre-poll votes are opened together and counted as soon as possible after election day."

The pre-poll voting centre will be located at Richmond Valley Council Administration Building, Corner Walker Street and Graham Place in Casino.

For more information about whether you are eligible for pre-polling, visit the Electoral Commission's webpage on pre-polling.

Do I have to vote?

Every Australian citizen over the age of 18 is required to vote, however you need to enrol to vote. Teenagers can enrol when they turn 17, but will still not be eligible to vote until they are 18. You can be fined if you are enrolled and fail to vote in an election.

However, the cut-off to enrol to vote in the by-election closed on February 2, so if you are not currently enrolled, you will not be elligible to vote this time around.

Not sure if you are currently enrolled? The Australia Electoral Commission website has a handy little enrolment checker that will tell you whether you are enrolled or not. All you need to enter is your surname, given names (both first and middle - you will get an error otherwise), date of birth and street name. If you believe you are enrolled to vote but your search in unsuccessful, you can contact the AEC on 13 23 26.

If you are not currently enrolled and want to be able to vote in the next election, follow the instructions on the AEC's 'How to enrol' page.

Who is running for office?

Eight people have nominated as candidates for the Richmond Valley by-election. You can visit our candidate profile page to view profiles of each of the Toowoomba by-election 2008 candidates.

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