THE close of voting for the South Gippsland Shire Council elections has been extended after authorities found around 9000 ballot packs had not been delivered in the mail.

The deadline has been extended by one week to 6pm on Friday, October 29, “to ensure all voters in the shire have the opportunity to cast a considered vote”, the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) announced tonight.

Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately, has requested printers to work through the weekend to reprint a number of ballot packs that have not been delivered.

“Over the past 24 hours the VEC has identified that a number of voters across all three South Gippsland Shire Council wards have not yet received their ballot packs for the election. In order to ensure that all voters have adequate time to cast a considered vote and thus ensure the integrity of the election, I have made the decision to extend the close of voting by one week from 6pm on Friday 22 October to 6pm on Friday 29 October,” Mr Gately said.

Mr Gately said the extended voting timeline was the fair and appropriate action and will apply for all voters across the shire, regardless of whether their ballot pack delivery was delayed or not.

“Although some voters will have received ballot packs with the original close of voting date, they should rest assured that we will be accepting completed votes mailed or delivered to the election office in Leongatha before 6pm on Friday 29 October.”

The VEC is working closely with Australia Post to investigate why just over 9000 ballot packs lodged with Australia Post have not been delivered. To avoid any further delays, the VEC has made the decision to re-issue the ballot packs for these voters.

Voters should only contact the election office on 1300 202 885 if they have not received a ballot pack by close of business on Thursday, October 21, 2021.