ARARAT - Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell this week encouraged Ararat Rural City voters to exercise their right to vote and reminded them that they have until next Friday to return their by-election ballot papers.
The Ararat Rural City Council by-election was called following the resignation of Ian Wilson in November last year.
Three candidates have thrown their hat into the ring, including Bill Braithwaite, Frank Deutsch and Glenda McLean.
Mrs Powell said she encouraged eligible Ararat voters to take the time to make an informed decision when choosing who will best represent their community.
"Local Government is a vital part of Victoria's democracy so the election of a councillor to serve the community is an important one and cannot be underestimated given Ararat's role as a major regional service centre in Victoria's mid-west," she said.
"It is important to remember that this is a postal by-election only and completed ballot papers must be posted to the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) in the reply-paid envelope provided," Mrs Powell said.
Important information for Ararat by-election:
Voters are reminded they have until 6pm on Friday, February 14 to return their completed ballot paper and avoid a fine.
Votes that do not reach the Returning Officer by this time cannot be counted.
"All voters should have received their ballot pack by now," Returning Officer, Andy McCann said.
"The completed ballot paper must be posted as soon as possible or delivered in person to one of our hand-delivery locations."
The hand-delivery locations are:
Ararat Rural City Council Election Office, Ararat and Grampians Visitor Information Centre, 91 High St, Ararat; Ararat Rural City Council Offices, corner of Vincent and High Streets, Ararat; Lake Bolac Information and Business Centre, 2110 Glenelg Highway, Lake Bolac.
Voting is compulsory for voters who were on the State roll for this by-election at 4pm on Friday, December 20 2013. Enrolled residents may be fined if they do not vote - this includes homeowners and tenants.
Voters are encouraged to vote (but won't be fined if they don't) if:
They are aged 70 years or over.
They live outside the municipality.
They applied to Council to be on the roll.
Ballot packs were mailed to voters from Tuesday, January 28. Anyone who has not received a ballot pack can obtain a replacement pack at the election office up until 6pm on Friday, February 14.
The councillor elected at the by-election will represent Ararat Rural City Council until the next council elections in October 2016.
Click here to view candidates' statements.