Snail mail democracy

Vote counting has begun in a pre-selection ballot for an independent candidate in the Morwell seat, despite residents in Yinnar and Boolarra not receiving ballot papers.

Grassroots political advocacy group Latrobe Valley 1st sent out ballot papers across the electorate offering residents the opportunity to pick their preferred independent candidate prior to the November state election.

Candidates include Morwell Neighbourhood House coordinator Tracie Lund, Gippsland Multicultural Services volunteer Hilde Rombout and Yinnar South resident David Wakefield – who has since announced his resignation in the race.

Latrobe Valley 1st spokesperson Ann Pulbrook said she had received a number of queries from Yinnar and Boolarra, with residents not receiving ballots in the mail.

“I don’t know why they wouldn’t have received them because they’re Australia Post delivered and we’ll do our best to get the ballots to people who request them,” Ms Pulbrook said.

On Tuesday, Latrobe Valley 1st announced it had started counting ballot papers and recruited electoral officers Bob Temple and Bert Kokshoorn to oversee the voting process to ensure fairness, transparency and accountability.

So far the group has already accounted for more than 1000 votes, inputted voters into a database, checked they have not already received a vote for that person and de-identified the vote by separating the registration information.

Ms Pulbrook said because Latrobe Valley 1st was not a political party, it did not have access to the electoral roll.

“This has made the whole process challenging, but we’re very pleased that we’ve been able to pioneer this new approach to choosing a candidate, and that we’ve had so many people participating,” Ms Pulbrook said.

She said Latrobe Valley 1st would be outside post offices in Yinnar and Boolarra and the Traralgon Farmers’ Market from 10am to noon and Saturday, 27 September with ballots available and an electoral box to vote on the spot.

Voting closes Monday.

To request a ballot paper or for more information, phone Ms Pulbrook on

0488 729 175.