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Byron Shire
January 26, 2022

No by-elections during this Tweed Council term

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Following the election of Councillors Chris Cherry (Independent) and Reece Byrnes (Labor) as the Tweed Mayor and Deputy Mayor at last Tuesday’s Tweed Council meeting the next order of business was to decide if a by-election should take place if a councillor could not continue in their elected role. 

Councillors were required to decide if they would have a by-election or what is called a ‘countback’ should one of the seven council positions become vacant in the next 18 months. 

‘The first time the state government has offered this option,’ said Mayor Cherry. 

This option allows councils to go back to the original votes cast and look to fill the vacancy. 

The motion to support a count back was put by Mayor Charry and seconded by new councillor Meredith Dennis. 

‘By-elections cost almost as much as full elections,’ said Mayor Cherry. 

‘It cost almost $750,000 for the recent election. It is an unreasonable cost to put on the ratepayers for a by-election.’

According to the NSW Electoral Commission the countback election ‘Where a candidate is interested, they must submit a formal application to the returning officer’.

If there are no eligible candidates then a by-election is run. If there is more than one eligible candidate then a ‘countback’ election is conducted. This process ‘effectively re-runs the election making the vacating councillor ineligible and distributing each of their ballot papers to the next preference on the ballot paper,’ states the NSW Electoral Commission Circular No 18-47. 

The vote to support a countback election for any casual vacancies in the upcoming 18 months was supported unanimously by all newly elected councillors.

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