THE FEWEST number of candidates have signed up for City of Greater Bendigo elections in at least a decade.
Twenty-one people are competing for nine seats on council, down from 39 in the 2008 elections, 24 in 2004 and 30 in 2002.
Ballots for the three wards were drawn yesterday, and sitting members Rod Campbell and Lisa Ruffell secured first position along with second-time candidate Elise Chapman.
Ms Chapman, a farmer and mother, said securing the top position in the Lockwood Ward could be beneficial to her campaign.
“It was very lucky ... I’m thrilled, it’s a great place to be,” she said.
“It’s a slight benefit, but any benefit is good.
“It’s going to be a tough race, I’m up against some good candidates.”
Ms Chapman said she would like to see change in the council “from the top down”.
“I want to make the council proactive and helpful,” she said.
“I think the council needs an overhaul.”
Councillor Ruffell said she didn’t believe having top place on the Whipstick Ward ballot would be an asset in her re-election campaign.
“I think people are going to take the local elections seriously and really look at the candidates, take them on their merits and ask them questions,” she said.
Returning officer Tony McDowell said it was hard to say why fewer candidates had signed up.
“It’s less than the number I would have expected, but I really can’t give a reason for that at all,” he said.
“It is a fairly big commitment, standing to be a councillor, and maybe people had a few thoughts about that.”
Mr McDowell said the ballot draw, attended by about 25 people, had been exciting. “It’s interesting to see the results of those draws and to meet the candidates and see how things are going,” he said.
“It’s a good democratic process.”
Candidates in ballot order: