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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Tweed council poll in limbo after death of candidate

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By Luis Feliu

The Tweed Shire Council election due on September 10 is in limbo and set to be postponed after the sudden death of a Kingscliff candidate at the weekend.

Popular 88-year-old retiree Ken ‘Stents’ Nicholson, who was running on his friend Ron Cooper’s independent progressive ‘no high-rise’ group ticket, died in the Tweed Hospital on Friday afternoon after suffering a heart attack and fall last week

Under NSW Electoral Commission rules, if a candidate dies ‘between noon on nomination day and 6pm on election day, the election fails and a new election in that council area or ward will be held at a later date’.

Mr Nicholson, the oldest candidate running in the election, had a zest for politics and was a former state and federal candidate for the Democrats.

The witty and engaging Kingscliff local was a regular contributor to the letters section of Echonetdaily with incisive views on a range of local and national issues.

A spokesman for the electoral commission told Echonetdaily officials were today (Sunday) discussing the best time to run the poll.

The spokesman said it was an unusual occurrence for a candidate to die before the poll and electoral officers could not recall such an event in NSW ‘in the past 20 years or so.’

October is believed to be the earliest a new poll can be held and an announcement by local government minister Paul Toole is expected this week.

Mr Cooper told Echonetdaily that his longtime friend was admired by many for his generous spirit and ‘giving to the community right till the end’, by supporting a community-driven election camapign.

‘He was a good friend and a man I admired a lot,’ he said.

Mr Nicholson is survived by two sons and two grandchildren.

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