Bega Valley council election counting begins

UPDATED, 4pm Monday, December 6

There's still a while to go before we get confirmed results of who will be taking their place on the Bega Valley Shire Council, but the count has already thrown up some surprises.

NSW local government elections were held on Saturday, December 4, with the Electoral Commission reporting there were 26,696 enrolled voters in the Bega Valley.

By the time counting stopped on Saturday night, around 35 per cent of ballots had been counted (9294), with a 9.71 per cent informal rate.

By 4pm Monday, that figure had grown to 17,143 votes counted, with the informal rate dropping to 8.32 per cent.

The Electoral Commission told ACM 7630 people in the Bega Valley used pre-poll voting.

There were 18 candidates standing for election in the Bega Valley, with nine seats available.

According to the Commission, the running quota (the number of votes needed to secure victory) was 1572 as at 4pm Monday, December 6, but this changes as the first preference counts continue.

Although the count is nowhere near complete, looking certain to be elected are Labor's Helen O'Neil, previous mayor Russell Fitzpatrick, newcomer Karen Wright and another former mayor and returning councillor Tony Allen.

With 2401 votes so far, Ms O'Neil has claimed more than 15 per cent of first preference votes in the first year the Labor Party has run candidates in the Bega Valley.

Fitzpatrick (2236), Wright (1890) and Allen (1817) have all made the quota as it stands so far.

Not far behind and a good chance of being elected is Greens candidate and returning councillor Cathy Griff (1367). She will also benefit from the flow of preferences from the other four Greens standing in her group.

The remaining four seats on the Bega Valley Shire Council will likely be determined via preferences as they will not reach the quota on first counts.

More to come as the count continues over coming days.

The NSW Electoral Commission says all final count results will be reported in the third week after election day.

Popularly elected mayor referendum

It might look as though there's an appetite for a popularly elected mayor for the Bega Valley in coming elections, with two-thirds of voters ticking 'Yes' in the referendum question.

But given that relates to only 127 votes counted, we'd suggest it's too early to call!

This story Bega Valley council election counting begins first appeared on Bega District News.