Greater Shepparton residents won’t know who their new council is until one week after election day — this Saturday.
Voting in the postal election closes at 6 pm on Friday, but the new nine person Greater Shepparton City Council won’t be revealed until late on Sunday, October 30 at the earliest, despite indications.
‘‘Extraction’’ will begin the day before.
Shepparton’s VEC returning officer Mick Bastian said this was to allow ballots mailed but not received by this Friday to still be included in the final count.
‘‘So long as we can establish it was in the mail at 6pm on Friday, we can accept that,’’ Mr Bastian said.
Almost 20000 ballots had been received by yesterday of the about 45000 people enrolled to vote in Greater Shepparton, he said.
Mr Bastian said the commission was unlikely to know the full turnout until Friday evening.
At the final council meeting of the concluding four-year term, the council last night said farewell to retiring councillor Kevin ‘‘Gunna’’ Ryan after almost 40 years in local government.
The remaining six members of the outgoing council are seeking re-election.
Caretaker mode ahead of the election had restricted the scale of decisions the council could make.
Mr Bastian said it would be difficult to determine whether the higher than usual number of candidates (29) and the absence of how-to-vote cards in voting postal packs would impact voter turnout this year, following high levels of informal voting at previous elections.
In 2012, from an enrolment of about 43000, there was a voter turnout of about 80 per cent while about 9.5 per cent of the total votes were informal.
‘‘It will take all of (next) Saturday, and most of Sunday,’’ Mr Bastian said of the ballot extraction process.
He said previously the ‘‘cutoff point’’ had been on the Friday before the election.
‘‘We will publish reports during that second weekend to give an indication of which candidates are receiving first preference votes.
‘‘That’s only a guide,’’ he said.
Mr Bastian said concrete results would have to wait until all the data was compiled and they ‘‘pushed the button’’.