Eden-Monaro by-election date set, voters will return to polls in July

Eden-Monaro by-election date set, voters will return to polls in July

The date of the 2020 Eden-Monaro by-election has been set with voters to return to the polls in July.

On Monday afternoon, Speaker of the House of Representatives Tony Smith announced July 4 would be the day for polling.

Nominations for the by-election are to close a month earlier on June 4.

The election will be held to fill the vacancy created by former Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly, after he resigned earlier this year due to health reasons.

Several parties and independents have already announced they will be running for the seat.

Labor is pinning its hopes on Dr Kelly's replacement Kristy McBain, a lawyer and former mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council.

On the weekend the Liberals announced their party's choice of Fiona Kotvojs, a Dignams Creek businesswoman who was narrowly defeated by Dr Kelly at the 2019 election.

Liberal Democrat Dean McCrae, coordinator of the party's southern districts branch, has entered the fray, as has independent Andrew Thaler, a solar farm developer from Nimmitabel.

Bredbo businesswoman Karen Porter is running as an independent under the banner of newly-formed group The New Liberals, the Christian Democratic Party has endorsed Cobargo's Narelle Storey as their representative and deputy leader of the Science Party James Jansson will also run.

Also, the Greens are expected to run a candidate.

The by-election has already made headlines in recent times, over speculation NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro would run for federal politics as well as Member for Bega Andrew Constance's decision to withdraw from consideration in the by-election less than 24 hours after pledging he would run for the seat.

On Monday, Mr Smith said the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) advises in normal circumstances that it is preferable not to have elections during school holidays, but with the current challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic the advice was different on this occasion.

"The AEC has undertaken extensive consultations, including with the NSW Department of Education, because a significant number of polling places are located at schools," he said.

"As a result, the AEC has advised me that it is preferable to have a polling date where students and staff do not return to school on the very next Monday.

"This will then enable a thorough sanitizing clean after the completion of voting and counting at polling booths at NSW schools."

Mr Smith said while he could issue the writ on Monday, he had decided to issue it on Thursday, May 28, to give the AEC a few more days of preparation before the by-election timetable begins, and to enable them to consult with relevant stakeholders about the conduct of the by-election during this time.

This story Eden-Monaro by-election date set, voters will return to polls in July first appeared on Bega District News.

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