At the recent Mayoral by-election, over 45,000 people were enrolled to vote. A mere 31,193 (just under 70%) voted. This is an appalling outcome. In the last Mayoral election in 2012, there was 43,882 entitled to vote.34,759 people voted (80%). Both Council and the State Government need to consider why people are abandoning Local Government.
The result of the election was that Clr. Gail Giles-Gidney was elected Mayor with just 20% of votes of those enrolled and 29% of votes cast (this was as predicted earlier on this site).
It was a close contest. The first preference votes were:
Clr Stuart Coppock 6,259 (20.83%)
Clr Tony Mustaca 6,163 (20.52%)
Clr Gail Giles-Gidney 6,144 (20.45%)
John C. Owen (former General Manager) 5,036 (16.76%)
However, the vote counting system was by optional preferential. That is, voters can decide for themselves if they wish to give a second or subsequent vote to other candidates (as well as their first choice).
To assist this process, candidates can suggest what voters should do via their ‘How to Vote’ card.
The most significant preference recommendation was between Clr Stuart Coppock (Liberal) and Clr Nic Wright (Labour). Strange ‘bedfellows’? However, as often happens, most voters made up their own mind about preferences. Of Nic Wright voters, 56% did not indicate a preference. Coppock only received 23% of preferences from Wright.
John Owen did not suggest any preferences. 72% of his votes ‘extinguished’ – that is no preference noted. 12% of his preferences were for Giles-Gidney
Mustaca and Giles-Gidney cross-preferenced. Unfortunately for him, Mustaca had less votes than Giles-Gidney before the final distribution of preferences. He was thus eliminated. 24% of Mustaca’s preferences went to Giles-Gidney.
At the end of vote counting, Clr Giles-Gidney (first time candidate) was declared elected with 9,094 votes. Clr Stuart Coppock who has unsuccessfully contested the Mayoral election on two previous occasions was defeated again, securing 8,806 votes.
The actual percentage of preferences lodged is also interesting. For candidates such as Wright and Coppock who suggested preferences the actual preferences granted were 44% for Wright and 39% for Mustaca. For candidates who did not preference (Owen & Norton) the outcome was 28% and 31%. Looks like that if you suggest preferences, more of your voters will indicate a preference.
The popularly-elected Mayoral election needs to be contested again in just over two years time.In previous Mayoral elections voters have traditionally supported the incumbent.
When candidate expenditure details are published, I intend to do a similar analysis.