Elections ballot draw decided

AS THE exhibition hall at the Coffs Harbour Showground resounded with the sounds of ping pong, the line up for a game of a different kind was being decided on the opposite side of the hall.

The ballot draw for the Coffs Harbour City, Bellingen Shire and Clarence Valley elections took place yesterday before a crowd of political candidates and supporters.

The New South Wales Electoral Commission announced the order that Coffs Harbour mayoral candidates would appear on the ballot paper, with Mark Graham first, followed by John Arkan, Keith Rhoades, John Fitzroy and Bill Palmer.

Greens candidate, Mark Graham, was 'elated' to draw top spot on the ballot paper.

“It was meant to be, and first on the ballot could potentially swing three or five per cent of the vote to the Greens,” Mr Graham said.

Newly nominated mayoral candidate John Arkan decided to throw his hat into the ring to 'give the council back to the community'.

“It's about choice, and I wasn't convinced there would be enough choice for voters on the ballot paper, which is why I decided to run,” Mr Arkan said. “Being second on the paper is good.”

But Electoral Commission returning officer Paul Wittman said the order of names on the ballot had 'little to no effect'.

“First position might get the donkey vote, but more people may go reverse donkey,” Mr Wittman said.

There were 101 nominations across the three councils, with 90,000 people expected to vote, 63 polling places and 260 Electoral Commission staff running the elections on September 13.

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