Early interest in CBH elections

Early interest in CBH elections

Grains
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Anecdotal evidence suggests there has been more early interest in this year's CBH Group member director elections than in any other of the co-operative's director elections in the past five years.

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ANECDOTAL evidence suggests there has been more early interest in this year's CBH Group member director elections than in any other of the co-operative's director elections in the past five years.

As profiled in Farm Weekly over the past three weeks, a total of seven candidates are contesting three board positions this year.

But a week before the polls close at 10am next Monday, anecdotal evidence suggested voter returns were already ahead of last year, when nine candidates - including two long-serving directors up for re-election like this year - vied for three positions on the CBH board.

Candidates working the phones in the districts one, two and four elections this year have said their calls have been well received, with a high level of member interest and a good percentage of CBH members contacted saying that they had already voted.

While CBH does not make the number of members entitled to vote in each district public, previous election results published on the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) website indicates there are just under 800 in district one, just over 900 in district two and about 1000 in district four.

Since 2015, the voter participation rate has varied from 38per cent to 60pc, depending on district in the rotating director election system employed by CBH.

In more recent elections 45-50pc participation has been the average, based on WAEC's results data.

Its website does not show a participation rate for last year's CBH elections, but does show that a total of 1227 votes were cast in three elections when CBH had about 3900 members - a participation rate equivalent to about 32pc.

WAEC returning officer for this year's and last year's CBH director elections, Phil Richards, confirmed apparent strong early voter participation this year.

In the district two election, for example, Mr Richards said about 40pc of eligible voters had already cast their vote a week out from the close of the polls.

"I don't know how significant this is, but the number of votes cast already in that district is about 4pc higher than it was at the same point in last year's election in that district," Mr Richards said.

He said there had been no complaints lodged with WAEC so far about candidate claims in election material or about their behaviour during the campaigns.

Only a handful of voters had contacted WAEC to say they had not received their ballot packs and replacements were sent out after their names were checked on the voters' roll, he said.

Mr Richards said after the polls close next Monday the reply-paid outer envelopes would be opened and names of voters checked off against the voters' roll for each district before ballot papers are opened and votes counted.

He said the election results were expected to be passed to CBH by about the middle of Monday afternoon.

In district one three new candidates, Gareth Rowe, Walkaway, Ken Seymour, Miling and Kirrilee Warr, Yuna, are contesting the seat vacated by Morawa grain and sheep farmer Rod Madden who did not seek re-election.

In district two, CBH director Vern Dempster, Northam, is being challenged by John O'Neil, Wialki and in district four, CBH chairman Wally Newman, Newdegate, is being challenged by Shane Carruthers, Lake Grace.

For their vote to count, CBH members who have not already voted need to ensure their ballot paper reaches WAEC before 10am on Monday.

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