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Thinking of nominating as a candidate for your local council? 

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If you’re considering nominating as a candidate for the 2021 NSW Local Government elections, you should read this notice. It provides general guidance about the process of nominating, and candidates’ obligations and responsibilities.

Prospective candidates should seek their own independent legal advice if they are unsure whether they are eligible to run for public office in a local council or how the law applies to their specific circumstances.

Nominate as a Mayor or Councillor

To nominate as a Mayor or Councillor you must lodge a nomination form, either by using the Electoral Commission’s online nomination system or delivering it to the Returning Officer.
Nominating involves:

  • Reading the instructions on the nomination form carefully - all parts must be completed.

  • You may be nominated by either a registered political party, or by two electors enrolled in the local government area or ward for which you are being nominated. For example, if you are being nominated as a candidate for a ward your nominators must be enrolled in that ward.

  • Candidates must also complete a candidate information sheet and statistical information sheet.

  • A nomination deposit must be paid.

Grouping of Councillor candidates on the ballot paper

Two or more Councillor candidates may form a group on the ballot paper, and where eligible, request a group voting square (box above the line) be printed on the ballot paper for the group.

In addition to lodging the nomination form, these candidates must also lodge a Request to form a group form.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor

In accordance with s.23A of the City of Sydney Act 1988 a person who is a candidate for election as the Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney must also be a candidate for election as a Councillor of the City of Sydney.

Nomination deposit

All candidates must pay a nomination deposit of $125 each to the NSW Electoral Commission.

Where candidates also lodge a Request to form a group, the deposit is capped at $625 for a group of five candidates or more.

If using the online nominations system, the deposit must be paid by either MasterCard or VISA.

If using paper nomination forms, the nomination deposit must be paid by cash or bank or building society cheque.

Start your nomination now

The NSW Electoral Commission’s online nominations system is now available at elections.nsw.gov.au

You can start the process of nominating online now.

Alternatively, paper nomination forms are available by calling the Commission’s candidate helpdesk on 1300 022 011.

Candidates who previously prepared a nomination form

Following the postponement of the elections to Saturday 4 December 2021, it was determined that any nomination or grouping forms created for the postponed 4 September 2021 elections will need to be redone.

This decision was made to ensure information submitted in nomination forms is accurate and current.

Lodge your nomination

Candidates may lodge their nominations and pay the deposit online.

However, if using paper nomination forms, you must lodge your nomination and deposit with the Returning Officer for the council area in which you intend to stand as a candidate. Returning Officer office locations can be found at elections.nsw.gov.au/lge21.
You are encouraged to start preparing your nomination form – and grouping form if applicable – now. 
The NSW Electoral Commission strongly encourages you to lodge your nomination online. As the public health situation can change quickly in any LGA, locations at which a nomination can be lodged in person may be closed in accordance with public health orders or if it becomes necessary due to risks associated with COVID-19.

Nomination forms, grouping forms and nomination deposits must be lodged between Monday, 25 October and 12 noon, Wednesday 3 November 2021.
Late nominations will not be accepted.

Registration for electoral funding purposes

NSW has strict laws that regulate the election campaign finances of political parties, candidates and groups at the election. These include requirements to operate a campaign account, and to record and disclose political donations and electoral expenditure. In addition, there are caps on political donations and electoral expenditure.
Prior to being nominated, candidates and groups who wish to accept political donations or pay for electoral expenditure must first apply to the NSW Electoral Commission to be registered for electoral funding purposes. Only once registered is a candidate or group allowed to accept political donations and pay for electoral expenditure.
Candidates and groups can apply to be registered through the NSW Electoral Commission’s new online registration and disclosure system, Funding and Disclosure Online. Forms are also available on the Commission’s website.
Applications for registration for electoral funding purposes close on Wednesday 3 November. 
From 4 November, nominated candidates and groups that have not registered before being nominated are taken to be registered and will take on significant legal obligations for record-keeping and making disclosures.  Even already-registered candidates and groups who decide not to nominate will have some ongoing electoral funding law obligations.

To learn more go to elections.nsw.gov.au. Enquiries about being registered and the laws that apply to political donations and electoral expenditure should be sent to fdc@elections.nsw.gov.au

Candidate Handbook and webinars

A Candidate Handbook is available on the NSW Electoral Commission’s website. Educational webinars which assist candidates in navigating the process are also available.

Ballot paper draw

The Returning Officer will formally announce the candidates and conduct a draw to determine the order of groups (where applicable) and candidate names on the ballot paper at the office of the relevant Returning Officer at 10am, Thursday 4 November 2021.
Observing the ballot paper draw will be subject to the capacity of the Returning Officer’s office and any NSW Health public health orders in effect at that time.

Further information

If you are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment, please contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS). Choose your access option and ask for 1300 135 736.

If you need an interpreter, please call TIS National on 131 450 and ask them to call the NSW Electoral Commission on 1300 135 736.

John Schmidt, NSW Electoral Commissioner