By OSCAR PERRI
Some candidates and many voters have expressed the fervent hope that the elections on Saturday will put a stop to the formation of voting blocks in the Town Council: No more five-four decisions with the usual suspects making up the respective sides.
If the how-to-vote material now being handed out on the council lawns outside the early voting polling place is any indication of where allegiances lie, that may still be in the realm of possibility.
While there are pretty distinct conservative / progressive blocks outlined by the preferencing in the mayoral race, it is much less so for the general council.
Of all 10 mayoral candidates, Matt Paterson and Jimmy Cocking are the only ones to feature as second choice on multiple cards. Mr Paterson is supported by Aaron Blacker and Steve Brown whom he has placed second and third respectively on his own list.
While this trio have fairly similar looking preferences with Jimmy Cocking, Blair McFarland and Angus McIvor at the bottom end, they differ on opinion about Eli Melky. Mr Brown has unsurprisingly put him last, as he has been outspoken about his dislike for Mr Melky during his campaign.
The other two are much more favourable, and Mr Blacker has Mr Melky in third, ahead of Mr Brown.
Mr Cocking is at the top of the list for Patrick Bedford and Mr McFarland, whom he in turn has placed in second and third.
Mr Melky, Mr Bedford and Marli Banks seem to occupy the middle of the road on most cards.
Ms Banks says she is “not playing the preference game” and has put together a dummy vote card with preferences listed in order as they appear on the ballot. She says that preference deals are where the factionalism that plagued the last council starts.
While her intention is to encourage voters to make up their own minds, that is not made clear in her how to vote material, and protesting in this way may lose her favour from some voters.
Angus McIvor, who has been somewhat absent in his campaigning, says that he is not putting out a how to vote card, nor corflute signs that are filling up the verges along main thoroughfares.
He says that all this paper and plastic is “hypocritical” for any candidate campaigning for recycling or environmental issues.
Wayne Wright does not have a how to vote card, and could not be contacted.
On the how to vote cards for the council election, the field is far less grouped in their preferences than the mayoral candidates.
Mark Coffey seems to be popular with a range of other candidates, as is Michael Liddle.
Emily Webster and Kim Hopper are keen to see more diversity in the chamber, and have both put all of the other candidates who are women at the top of their lists.
Steve Brown stands out because he is at the bottom of four lists and near the bottom on two more. James Dash and Wayne Wright fare only slightly better. They do not feature in the top eight of anyone’s list.
But otherwise there is a real mix with no obvious groupings, and certainly not in the numbers that would lead to a dominant group of five.
To be elected mayor, a candidate needs a majority of formal votes (50% plus 1 vote).
If this does not happen on the first count, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are redistributed to their next choice, and so on.
Last updated 25 August, 10.47am.