Go to content

2021 NSW Local Government elections: Political Participants Bulletin No.16

Bulletin No. 16
Issued 15 November 2021

On this page

1. Registration of electoral material system available

The registration of electoral material period commenced on Wednesday, 3 November 2021 and closes at 5pm, Friday, 26 November 2021.

The NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) has developed an online registration system, which is available now on the Registration of electoral material page.

Posters are not required to be registered but they must comply with the requirements detailed in the Candidate Handbook, which can be found under step 1 of the Six steps to being a candidate page.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission between electors, election officials and candidate/political party volunteers, the usual “six metre rule” is being extended to 100 metres with the Electoral Commissioner issuing new directions under the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021:

  • No electoral material is to be handed out, or left out for collection, in a publicly owned or occupied area (such as on the footpath) that is within 100 metres of the entrance to a polling place or a pre-polling venue on polling days; and

  • No posters can be displayed in a publicly owned or occupied area (such as on the footpath or school fences) within 100 metres of the entrance to a polling place or pre-poll venue on polling days, unless they are put in place before 7am (and are otherwise lawful and safe – such as not obstructing electors or other people). Any posters put in place before 7am on a polling day must not be adjusted or moved again until after 7pm. This direction applies to all types of posters, including A-frames and corflutes. 

Material or posters that contravene these directions can be confiscated and destroyed by election officials. A copy of the Electoral Commissioner’s directions in full have been published on the NSWEC website. Page 3 of the LG.233H Scrutineer and party/candidate worker guidelines provides further guidance to political participants.

Although traditional campaigning around polling places must be more limited for safety reasons at these elections, political participants should note the following:

  • any candidate contact details (such as email address, mobile phone number, website address) provided on the nomination form will be displayed on the NSWEC website.

  • electors can access registered electoral material on the NSWEC website from 22 November until election day – see below for more information.

Further information was provided at the webinar conducted on Thursday, 28 October. To view a recording of this webinar, please visit the Candidate information webinars section on the Six steps to being a candidate page.

Display of electoral material on the NSWEC website

Registered electoral material will be displayed on the NSWEC website from the start of pre-poll until 6:30pm on election day. That is, Monday, 22 November 2021 until 6:30pm on Saturday, 4 December 2021.

Electoral material that is registered during the first week of pre-poll and prior to the closure of registration of electoral material at 5pm Friday, 26 November 2021 will be progressively updated to the website.

Online voting (iVote) has been introduced for the first time for these local government elections. Electors who use iVote will have the option of viewing registered electoral material on the NSWEC website before casting their vote. Political participants should consider making their electoral material accessible for electors who use iVote who have low vision.

2. Ballot paper templates

Ballot paper templates are now available on the NSWEC website. These templates will assist candidates in preparing their electoral material, particularly how-to-vote material.

When including a sample of the ballot paper on how-to-vote material, the details must be an accurate representation of the ballot paper, for example, the spelling of candidates’ names, registered political party names and the inclusion or exclusion of the word ‘Independent’. This information must appear exactly as it will on the ballot paper for the election. Partial representations of the ballot paper may be accepted.

3. Candidate information webinars

The remaining candidate information webinars will be conducted on:

  • 11am, Thursday, 18 November – Early voting and election day voting

  • 11am, Tuesday, 30 November – Candidate workers, scrutineers, counting and results.

Register your attendance and view past webinars.

4. Distribution of postal vote packs

Mailing of postal vote packs commenced this week to electors who are General Postal Voters or have successfully applied to the NSWEC for a postal vote pack.

Each postal vote pack contains the relevant ballot papers, postal vote instructions, a reply paid envelope and a postal vote certificate envelope that must be signed by the elector and a witness before 6pm on election night.

Postal vote packs must be completed and returned to the NSWEC’s Centralised Postal Vote Count Centre by 6pm on 17 December 2021.

5. Scrutineers

The Electoral Commission acknowledges the importance of scrutineering in ensuring confidence in the electoral process. However, for the safe conduct of the 2021 Local Government elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been necessary to introduce a number of COVID-19 safety protocols for this election. 

These protocols include the requirement for all scrutineers who will be attending an election venue to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and for scrutineer numbers to be limited in some circumstances to ensure COVID-safe venue capacity is not exceeded. Please refer to the Covid-19 Safety Protocols for Scrutineers information in the LG.233H Scrutineer and party/candidate worker guidelines.

The LG.215 Scrutineer policy is also available on the NSWEC website on the Six steps to being a candidate page under 'Educational resources and forms available to candidates and groups'. The policy describes the role of scrutineers in general in NSW local government elections for Councillors and Mayors and how scrutineers can comply with the law during the election and the counting of votes. The policy also aims to make it easier for scrutineers to examine paper ballots, electronic records and data entry records, as well as providing information on the audit process for electronic counting.

To avoid any doubt, scrutineers and party workers should follow the protocols in the LG.233H Scrutineer and party/candidate worker guidelines located on the Six steps to being a candidate page if there is an inconsistency between the two documents. 

Candidates or groups wishing to appoint a scrutineer to represent them should complete the details section at the top of the LG.213 Appointment of Scrutineer form which is also available on the Six steps to being a candidate page.

6. Protection from COVID-19 in our voting and counting venues

The NSWEC is required to put in place measures to minimise risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of electors, election staff and political participants, including to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Everyone who attends election venues during an election also has a work health and safety duty to take reasonable care for their own and others’ health and safety arising from COVID-19.

To minimise COVID-19 risks, the Electoral Commissioner has decided that to be eligible to work in voting venues, counting places, and Returning Officers’ offices, election officials must be vaccinated (unless they have a medical contraindication) and must wear face masks when working. 

Our election officials will also be authorised to give instructions to voters and political participants at our venues to follow the NSWEC’s COVID-19 Safety Plan at these elections. A copy of our Safety Plan is available on our website. Wearing a face mask in polling place is mandatory.

7. Ballot paper draws

The NSW Electoral Commission acknowledges there was a delay in conducting some ballot paper draws last Thursday. The impacted draws were the result of a large number of paper nomination forms being lodged on the morning of Wednesday, 3 November. These forms required detailed review before Returning Officers could conduct the draws. The Electoral Commission regrets any inconvenience arising for affected candidates, political parties and other attendees.

8. Electoral expenditure caps

Each candidate, and the lead candidate of each group, should now have been notified of their expenditure cap for the election. If you are uncertain about the amount of electoral expenditure you or your group can incur for the election, please refer to the Expenditure caps for the 2021 Local Government elections page.

9. Election statistics

The following statistics are provided following the close of nominations:

  • Number of candidates: 3,864

  • Council areas/wards uncontested: 1 Mayor, 3 Councils, 19 wards

  • Number of male candidates: 2,165

  • Number of women candidates: 1,610

  • Gender not provided: 89

10. Fairfield City and Penrith City council elections

Fairfield City and Penrith City councils have engaged a commercial electoral services provider to administer their 2021 elections.

The requirement for registration with the Electoral Commission for electoral funding purposes (accepting political donations and incurring electoral expenditure) still applies to candidates and other participants in those elections. Offences under local government electoral laws at all council elections are also enforced by the Electoral Commission.

However, participants in the Fairfield City and Penrith City council elections must contact those councils directly about their arrangements for the administration of nominations, registration of electoral material, applying for postal votes and declaration of results for those elections. The information in our bulletins about these matters does not apply for Fairfield and Penrith elections.