LOCAL council voters across the state have responded to the call to get their votes returned ASAP, according to Victoria’s Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately.

And it is expected the turnout for these elections will exceed the 2016 response.

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has been running a multi-pronged communication campaign to encourage voters to return completed ballots as soon as possible.

“I am impressed by the rate of ballot returns compared with the same time in 2016. We are tracking above where we expected to be and are appreciative of the public’s response,” Mr Gately said.

In 2016, an average of 72 per cent of people participated in the elections; voting was not compulsory for some categories of voters. Mr Gately said the ballot return rate was expected to exceed the 75 per cent anticipated average return for this year’s elections.

“Our reminders have generated large call volumes and we’ve increased call centre staff in response.”

All local council elections are being held by post because of the COVID-19 pandemic and voters are reminded to have their ballot packs in the mail or returned to their local election office by 6pm this Friday, October 23.

In Bass Coast, the local election office is at the Old Post Office.

The City of Casey, City of Whittlesea and the South Gippsland Shire Council are under administration so there is no voting in those councils. Voters in these councils will not have received ballot papers.

Further information can be found at vec.vic.gov.au.