Mayoral candidate Clare Stewart and Mayor Tony Wellington have both had election signs stolen.
Mayoral candidate Clare Stewart and Mayor Tony Wellington have both had election signs stolen.

RIGHT Down to the Wire Mayoral race has only four votes in it as challenger leads

THIS afternoon the declared votes for all the early polling counted with the postals and phone voting still to be tallied the top nine vying for the six Noosa councillor candidates looked like this:

FRANK WILKIE. 11372

BRIAN STOCKWELL. 10818

JOE JURISEVIC. 9328

AMELIA LORENTSON. 8852

TOM WEGENER. 8539

KAREN FINZEL. 8288

KAREN COOK LANGDON. 8206

YANNI VAN ZIJL. 8188

PHIL MORAN. 8035

And Mayor Tony Wellington may well have met his Waterloo as he fights a neck and neck battle with local government first timer Clare Stewart to decide who leads council for the next four years.

With two batches of postal votes counted for the mayoral race added to the pre-poll and polling day totals Ms Stewart leads this tightest of races by just four votes.

The unofficial tally has 14,041 votes for Ms Stewart and 14,037 for Cr Wellington.

It is believed there are still 700 phone votes still to be counted by ECQ and whatever postal votes arrive before the cut-off of 5pm Tuesday.

There should be another 2500 or so to arrive as there were 5117 registered.

This may be a case of “hang on to your hats folks” as we could be in for a hung vote, just like in Iowa last year in the United States for the mayoral race in Waterloo.

Radio Iowa reported back in November that mayoral challenger Kristi Lundy won the race when Black Hawk County election officials drew her name out of a box to break the deadlock.

In Queensland the 2011 Local Government Electoral Bill decrees a similar process.

According to the Queensland Parliamentary Library under legislation “if there is a tied vote, the returning officer must draw marbles (or other similar things) representing the two candidates out of an opaque container to decide who is elected”.

So this could be a rare case when a lack of transparency in council dealings is a good thing.

This Noosa Council candidate election count keeps delivering a slow-speed “thrill” ride for those contenders strapped in on the fringes of the all-important sixth placed cut-off to see who serves in the next term of office.

After the latest release of the Electoral Commission of Queensland returning officer figures to candidates, Future Noosa’s Karen Finzel is showing she is up for the fight.

The hinterland candidate has clawed her way back into the final spot on the six, edging out for now at least businesswoman Karen Cook-Langdon, artist Yanni Van Zinjl and Noosa Landcare identity Phil Moran.

The day before Ms Finzel was in sixth by a whisker with only 46 votes between sixth and eighth.

Newcomer Amelia Lorentson, who performed strongly at her meet the candidates appearances with her attitude of not taking a backward step in debates, is still firmly in the mix in fourth.

Surfboard making maestro Tom Wegener, another newcomer, looks to be shaping his own career change into public office in fifth.

Cr Joe Jurisevic has made his way up to third at this stage, behind the top placed Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie and Cr Brian Stockwell.

Artist Yanni Van Zinjl is still polling doggedly in eighth place not far out of the six.

Ms Lorentson said there was a long way to go yet in this contest and she said “nothing is guaranteed”.

‘It’s early days yet, and I’m so not 100 per cent confident. I understand how this can just churn. I think the postal vote is interesting.

“So far I’m just really honoured that so many people are supporting me.”

Ms Lorentson may well be getting reward for effort to date as she has worked hard to meet as many voters in the lead up.

“I think every sixth person knows me, I love this community.”

Ms Lorentson said she is not a fence sitter and “if the community needs me I’m going to step up, it’s simple as that for me”.

“I think at the end of all this win or lose for me, I’ve so definitely found my path.”

She said she would in future be aiming to represent the community in whatever capacity possible.

As for her own mindset through these trying voting updates she said: “I’m hitting the water, I’m getting my head space in the ocean. I’m a surfer so I get a lot of solace from it,” she said.

She said she sees fellow contender Mr Wegener out there in the waves doing the same chill out.


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