SOUTH-WEST voters have been slow off the blocks to lodge ballot papers for municipal elections.
With only three days to go barely half the number of eligible registered voters have returned their mail-out ballot packs.
Any votes not in the hands of local returning officers by 6pm on Friday will not be eligible.
By yesterday afternoon, Warrnambool City had 57.6 per cent of general mail-outs returned, Moyne Shire had 54.7 per cent, Colac Otway Shire 53 per cent and Glenelg Shire and Corangamite Shire had 61 per cent.
Warrnambool’s returning officer Russell Isaacs advised voters to have their ballot packs in the mail by this afternoon to be sure of meeting the deadline.
Otherwise people can go directly to their local returning office. The offices will be open to 8pm tomorrow and 6pm on Friday and locations can be found on the Victorian Electoral Commission website.
“There were 3000 votes lodged today and we expect a rush for the next three days,” he said.
‘’Voters must post their completed ballot paper inside the declaration envelope provided with their ballot packs. If it’s getting too late to return completed ballot material by post, voters can deliver it in person.”
If packs have been lost or were not delivered, today will be the last day for a replacement to be sent out.
Warrnambool has the region’s biggest voter base with 25,133 ballot packs mailed out.
Anyone older than 70 is not bound by the compulsory voting rule and can be excused.
However, others on the roll aged between 18 and 70 face the prospect of a penalty if they fail to meet the deadline.
Mr Isaacs said the electoral commission would identify those who failed to vote and then it was up to each individual council to follow up and decide if a penalty should be imposed.