Alistair Coe’s replacement in the ACT Legislative Assembly should be known by Thursday 25 March, the ACT Electoral Commissioner, Damian Cantwell AM CSC, announced yesterday.
Mr Coe’s resignation last Friday creates a ‘casual vacancy’, an empty seat in the Assembly outside the election period. The Assembly will fill the position by counting back through the ballot papers that elected Mr Coe in October.
In effect, Mr Cantwell explained, those electors who voted for Mr Coe determine his replacement. Mr Coe’s seat could be filled by one of three unelected Yerrabi Liberal candidates: former MLA James Mulligan (7.2% of the vote), Jacob Vadakkedathu (5.0%), or Dr Krishna Nadimpalli (3.6%).
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The Electoral Commissioner received official notification of the casual vacancy from the Speaker of the Assembly, Joy Burch.
“I am now able to outline the official timetable for filling the Legislative Assembly vacancy,” Mr Cantwell said.
To begin the countback process, an advertisement appeared on Monday 15 March in The Canberra Times, inviting candidates who unsuccessfully stood in the Yerrabi electorate at the 2020 election to contest the vacancy. Where practicable, the Commission will notify all the unsuccessful candidates directly, Mr Cantwell said.
Those candidates now have until noon on Thursday 25 March to contest the vacancy.
At 12.30pm that day, the names of the candidates contesting the vacancy will be officially declared. A computer counting program will determine which candidate will be elected to the Assembly to replace Mr Coe, Mr Cantwell said.
It is expected that the result will be officially declared on Friday 26 March at 3pm.
The Canberra Liberals will not comment until after the recount.
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