Parade: Drawn-out ballot battle for just one position

SNAPSHOT: Reader Anita Casey took this stunning winter image on the outskirts of Bathurst.
SNAPSHOT: Reader Anita Casey took this stunning winter image on the outskirts of Bathurst.

PARADE’S advice to anyone thinking of attending the ballot draw for the next Bathurst Regional Council election is to not bother – unless you’re having real trouble sleeping, that is.

Parade went along on Wednesday evening to watch a little bit of democracy in action and gave up 90 minutes of his life that he can never get back.

The issue was not the work of returning officer Stuart Evennett and his team but, rather, the cumbersome and bureaucratic processes that must be followed to the letter to ensure no objections can be lodged in the aftermath.

Most ridiculous was the ballot draw to decide the order in which groups would appear on the ballot papers in the Blayney and Oberon areas.

In both instances, just one group had nominated for the election, yet Mr Evennett was required to go through the same step-by-step process to confirm their positions.

That meant he first had to cut out a piece of paper that had the group’s name printed on it, fold that piece of paper three times and then place it in a plastic vial.

Next Mr Evennett screwed a lid on the vial before placing it in a box – but only after showing the gathered crowd that the box was empty and inviting anyone who wished to come forward to inspect the box to do so (thankfully, no-one did).

The box was then secured with a cable tie and rotated several times before Mr Evennett invited anyone else who wished to rotate the box to come forward.

The cable tie was cut, Mr Evennett reached in and pulled out the single vial, unscrewed it, unfolded the piece of paper and read out the name of the group to appear in the first (and only) position on the ballot paper.

Surely there’s a better way.

Trivia quiz for Tractor Trek

THE Central West Charity Tractor Trek Group is running a fundraising trivia quiz at Yetholme Community Hall on Saturday night.

It’s $15 a person for tables of six to 12, or you can arrive in a smaller group and join a mixed table. Proceeds go to Little Wings.

For more information, phone Kevin Porter on 0427 375 131 or Malcolm Porter on 0428 375 383.