No surprises in NT local elections

WHILE the final declaration of the polls will not be official until next week, local government elections in the Northern Territory last week don't appear to have thrown up any real surprises in regional parts of the NT.

The major regional centres of Alice Springs, Katherine and Litchfield Shire all look set to return their mayors.

However, the Barkly Regional Council, which includes the town of Tennant Creek, will have a new president, with public servant Steve Edgington leading the count decisively by more than 600 first preference votes.

In Alice Springs, Mayor Damien Ryan will set a new record for the longest-serving mayor in the town's history after he claimed more than 60% of the primary vote.

In Katherine, Fay Miller will be returned after claiming almost 1200 primary votes more than her closest rival.

In the farm-rich Darwin rural region of Litchfield, incumbent mayor Maree Bredhauer is more than 1500 primary votes ahead of her nearest rival in the three-horse race after first preferences were counted.

While it all appears it will be steady as she goes with the regional councils, the NT Electoral Commission has expressed concern at the lack of voter engagement in the poll.

Across the Territory in the broader regions, Electoral Commissioner Iain Loganathan said there had been little interest in early voting or postal votes.

He said before the election about 20,000 early votes had been cast but only 4239 were from remote polling locations.

Mr Loganathan said it appeared voters were "disengaged”.

That assessment appears to have followed through on election day in the number of voters turning out across the NT.

Based on Electoral Commission tally room figures of first preference votes in the regions, voter turnout has only been about the low 60% mark.

The declaration of the polls will be held on Monday, September 4.

Topics:  mayor northern territory northern territory elections politics rural

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