BATHURST Regional Council might turn to an alternate body to conduct its next local government election.
Council held an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday night to deal with some procedural and administrative matters, including the provision of election services for the 2024 council election.
The NSW Electoral Commission is the usual choice, and council staff recommended to engage the commission again in 2024.
However, councillors deferred a decision on the matter after concerns were raised about the way the commission ran the most recent election.
While generally happy with the job the local election officials did, they felt the officials at the state level were causing more problems than they were meant to solve.
Long-serving councillor Ian North said he had never experienced an election like the one in 2021.
"This is the seventh election I've been part of and I've never seen the electoral authority in Sydney so lost, with people not understanding the rules," he said.
"I even had to read out the candidate handbook to one of them and they didn't understand."
One of the issues, he said, was confusion around the size of candidates' election signs and who was responsible for enforcing the rules.
"The people in Sydney were so scripted. As soon as you took them off script they were lost," Cr North said.
There was also concern raised about the rising costs of the election, which increased by almost $100,000 between 2017 and 2021.
"It might well be that we'll end up using them [in 2024], but when you're talking 300-odd thousand dollars to run an election that was plagued with a lot of issues, I'd like to see what other options there are out there moving forward," Cr North said.
Cr Warren Aubin seconded his comments, saying that he thought the last election was "the most pathetic attempt at running anything".
It was a different experience for Cr Marg Hogan, but she was prepared to support deferring a decision.
"I actually didn't have that experience, but I am happy to defer," she said. "I rang the hotline numerous times and actually had great service."
The provision of election services will be discussed at a future working party.
Cr Jess Jennings requested that council seek feedback from other councils that use other providers to help inform a decision.
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