Nominations for local government elections officially open on Thursday with 18 candidates so far signalling their intention to run for Warrnambool City Council.
Candidates will have until midday on Tuesday, September 22 to get their nominations in before a ballot takes place listing all the candidates.
Max Taylor, Steve Moore, Sue Cassidy, Tom Campbell, Angie Paspaliaris, Debbie Arnott, Otha Akoch, Vicki Jellie, Jim Burke, Tracey Togni, Ben Blain, Kylie Gaston, Mike Neoh, Richard Ziegeler, Cassandra Prigg, Bruce Campbell, Andrew Squires and Jacinta Anderson have so far signaled their intent to run for Warrnambool council.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has opened offices in each local government electorate so candidates can nominate in person, but they must stick to COVID-safe regulations.
Municipal Association of Victoria deputy president (rural) Ruth Gstrein said candidates were encouraged to fill out their nomination forms online and then bring them in to sign at the offices.
For the first time, local government election across the state will be run this year via postal voting, and with regional Victoria this week easing coronavirus restrictions campaigning is now expected to ramp up.
Ballot packs are expected to be posted to enrolled voters in early October.
In August, the state government decided to proceed with the elections despite calls from the MAV to abandon them this year with the majority of councils raising concerns it would disadvantage newer candidates.
Melbourne candidates are having to campaign while under harsher lockdowns than rural Victoria.
New safe campaigning guidelines have been released as regional Victoria on Thursday moves to the "third step", and while it does rule out doorknocking, there are some allowances for campaigning in public places.
"You should use common sense and consideration when it comes to interacting with people in public places such as shopping centres and railway stations and take safety precautions, including physical distancing and wearing a face covering," it says. "Campaign activities that can be managed virtually should be managed virtually."
Any public gatherings are subject to the same social distancing, and numbers of people, rules as everyone else.
While letterbox drops have been approved, there are strict rules around doing so such as not entering the person's premises or congregating with others at letterboxes. Councils will enter caretaker mode on September 22 until successful candidates are announced by November 13.
Because of the later date for the final declaration of successful candidates, Warrnambool City Council has resolved to change the date of its November and December meetings.
The annual meeting that was to be held on November 9 will now be held on November 23, and the ordinary council meeting scheduled for November 23 will now be held on December 7.
Warrnambool City Council candidates in the running:
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