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Shellharbour council election results in limbo with two calls for a recount | Illawarra Mercury


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Recount calls are brewing in two Shellharbour council wards after election-day confusion over what counts as a formal vote. Long-time Shellharbour councillor Peter Moran narrowly failed to win re-election in Ward B as results were announced on Wednesday, but was one of two candidates who said he would seek a recount. The Ward A result may not be known before Christmas either, as narrowly unsuccessful candidate Shane Bitschkat has also requested a recount. Both camps cited confusion over informal votes, and the inability to have scrutineers watch the count as the ballot papers were taken up to Sydney, as reasons to test the count again. Read more: Greens seek recount after 8-vote margin in Kiama count “We will ask for a recount – but with no great expectation of success,” Mr Moran said. “There was a lot of confusion about what was a formal vote and what was an informal vote. “There’s still things I’d like to see accomplished on council, and with a 5-4 Labor-dominated council … their focus is not likely to be the same as mine.” Mr Moran, linked to the Greens at state level but standing as an Independent on council, came third in a tight three-cornered contest for Ward B with fellow environmentalist John Davey and Labor’s Moira Hamilton. Former mayor Kellie Marsh ran with Mr Bitschkat and said he had only lost by four votes. “On the night there was considerable confusion from the NSW Electoral Commission staff concerning formal and informal votes,” she said. “It’s four votes – we won every single booth, we were in front with the iVotes, the pre-poll … so we’ve requested a recount on that as well.” Ms Marsh said if Mr Moran was unsuccessful it would be a loss for council. “I’ve worked with Peter for 10 years – he was a great councilor. He always had the community’s interests at heart and he was exceptional in governance areas of council, and making sure information was declassified and put out to the public.” In Ward C Colin Gow was elected as he was second on the Chris Homer group. With Mr Homer elected to the position of mayor, his votes flowed to Mr Gow, who was elected easily, along with Labor’s Lou Stefanovski. It gives the incoming mayor a handy start with two of his independents group joining him to deliver the new leadership he promised on council. Ward D was uncontested and Independent Jacqueline Graf and Labor’s Rob Petreski were elected. In Wollongong, Labor is back to holding six seats on the council, which includes 12 Ward councillors plus the Lord Mayor, after winning two seats in each Ward. Labor won two seats from Ward 1, with Janice Kershaw and Richard Martin elected along with Green Mithra Cox and Liberal Cameron Walters, who moved to Ward 1 from Ward 3, dumping veteran councillor Leigh Colacino from the Liberal ticket and replacing him on council. Ward 2 produced no change from the previous council, with Labor’s Tania Brown and David Brown returned alongside Liberal John Dorahy and Green Cath Blakey. Ward 3 saw Liberal Elisha Aitken able to successfully consolidate the party’s position in the south, taking over after fellow Liberal Cameron Walters moved to Ward 1. Ward 3 also elected Bradbery group Independent and incumbent councillor Dom Figliomeni as well as Labor’s Ann Martin and Linda Campbell. The Illawarra Mercury newsroom is funded by our readers. You can subscribe to support our journalism here. Sign up for breaking news emails below …

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