Huge turn-out for shire poll

Rayner elected new president

Michael Sinclair-Jones 

LOCAL FARMER Brian Rayner is Toodyay’s new shire president after the defeat of former shire president David Dow in last month’s local government elections.
President Rayner told the new council last month that he would be “a new broom but will try not to sweep too clean”.
“I think we will have a very strong team to move the wheels of Toodyay progress forward,” he said.
Shire CEO Stan Scott said a big change in the number of people who voted was a “terrific” outcome in a well-fought campaign for which everyone should be congratulated.
It had been a good move to switch from ‘in-person’ voting run by the shire to postal ballots run by the WA Electoral Commission,
Toodyay’s 50 per cent voter turn-out across the shire easily beat the state-wide average of  34 per cent after ranking among WA’s lowest in previous years.
President Rayner was re-elected unopposed in North Ward while Mr Dow lost his Central Ward seat to newcomer Di Granger, who polled 196 votes to Mr Dow’s 121, with local community volunteer Linda Rooney a distant third on 66.
Cr Therese Chitty retained her East Ward seat with 284 votes and was returned unopposed as Shire Deputy President at the first meeting of the new council after Cr Rayner defeated her 5-4 in a two-way secret ballot for president.
However, Cr Chitty will chair the next council meeting on Tuesday November 28 while President Rayner is away on leave.
Hoddys Well newcomer Ben Bell won the second East Ward vacancy with 211 votes, while retired school teacher Tim Hale polled 141 votes and semi-retired relief teacher Karyn Dymond 73.
West Toodyay business owner Paula Greenway polled 214 votes to retain her West Ward seat against Morangup candidate Craig Brook on 158 votes and Andrew Walker 82.
Cr Granger, a town-based business owner and consultant, was the only candidate to win an overall majority of votes in any contested ward, winning 51 per cent of the 383 votes cast in Toodyay’s Central Ward.
The next highest was Cr Greenway with 47 per cent of the 454 votes cast in West Ward, followed in East Ward by Cr Chitty 40 per cent and Cr Bell 30 per cent of the 709 votes cast.
Some East Ward voters ticked only one box instead of two but Cr Chitty’s higher percentage vote means she returns for a further four years, while Cr Bell fills the remaining two-year vacancy created when former East Ward councillor
Kate Wood resigned last March to move to Geraldton.
The WA Electoral Commission urges postal ballots for council elections because they generally result in higher voter turn-outs.
The commission described the state-wide voter turn-out as the best in a decade.
See also Editorial and Bat in the Belfry


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