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2021 NSW Local Government elections: Political Participants Bulletin No.17

Bulletin No. 17
Issued 19 November 2021

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1. Postal vote applications close

Postal vote applications close at 5pm on Monday 29 November. Applications received after this time cannot be accepted.

2. Reminder registration of electoral material closes

The registration of electoral material period commenced on Wednesday, 3 November 2021 and closes at 5pm, Friday, 26 November 2021. Electoral material distributed on Election Day must be registered.

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

Display of electoral material on the NSW Electoral Commission website

Registered electoral material will be displayed on the NSW Electoral Commission website from the start of pre poll until 6.30pm election day. That is, Monday, 22 November 2021 until 6.30pm 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 the 2021 local government elections. Electors who use iVote will have the option of viewing registered electoral material on the NSW Electoral Commission website before casting their vote. Political participants should consider making their electoral material accessible for electors who are blind or have low vision.

3. Scrutiny of postal vote declaration envelopes and extraction of ballot papers

The scrutiny of returned postal vote packs will commence from Monday, 22 November 2021 and continue as postal votes are returned. Scrutiny includes the inspection of all returned postal vote certificates to confirm that they have been completed in line with legislation.

Scrutiny, extraction and counting of postal votes will be conducted at the Centralised Postal Vote Counting Centre (CPVCC) in Sydney.

Extraction of scrutinised postal votes will commence from Tuesday, 23 November 2021. During the extraction process, ballot papers are extracted from the outer envelope and are not inspected at this time. Extracted ballot papers will be stored in securely sealed ballot paper boxes which will not be opened or counted prior to 6pm on election night.

Scrutiny and extraction of postal votes will be completed on Friday, 17 December 2021.

The CPVCC is located at the Munro Pavilion, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW 2127. Providing they are following the Electoral Commission’s COVID-19 Protocol for Scrutineers, scrutineers are entitled to attend to observe the scrutiny of returned postal vote declaration envelopes and the counting of postal ballot papers (see item 4 below).

4. Counting of postal ballot papers

After 6pm on election night, Saturday 4 December 2021, initial counts will commence of the extracted postal ballot papers and will be conducted progressively throughout the two weeks following election day for all contest types (Mayor, Councillor, Referendum and Poll).

Check counts (data entry into the NSWEC’s computer count system) of postal ballot papers will also occur progressively over the two week period following election day.

5. Early voting and iVote


Recent changes to the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 have been introduced for the 2021 Local Government elections only, allowing all electors to vote early during the pre-poll voting period. Pre-poll voting will be available from 22 November to 3 December. Pre-poll voting days and hours vary between locations. Pre-poll locations are subject to change, for up-to-date early voting information visit our website elections.nsw.gov.au.


Applications for iVote open on Monday, 22 November 2021 and close at 1pm, Saturday 4 December 2021.

Voting is open from Monday, 22 November 2021 until 6pm, Saturday 4 December 2021.

Applying and/or voting can be done online via our website or by calling our call centre on 1300 248 683.

The electors who will be eligible to use iVote at this election are those who:

  • are blind or have low vision

  • are unable to vote without assistance or have difficulty voting at a polling place because of a disability or have difficulties reading

  • are a silent elector

  • live more than 20 kilometres from a polling place

  • will not be within the council area during election day, or

  • applied for a postal vote but did not receive your postal ballot papers before 5pm, Friday 26 November 2021.

6. Daily metrics during the pre-poll voting period

The NSW Electoral Commission will publish pre-poll voting period cumulative totals daily on our website during the Local Government elections. Details published will include the daily totals on the number of electors who cast a vote during the early voting period. The total number of postal vote applications received and the number of postal vote certificates returned will also be published.

7. Candidate information webinars

The final candidate information webinar for the 2021 local government elections will be conducted on 11:00am, Tuesday 30 November.  The webinar will cover topics about candidate workers, scrutineers, and counting and results.
View past webinars, as well as register your attendance for future webinars.

8. Compliance operations during the voting period

NSW Electoral Commission inspectors may be visiting voting venues during the pre-poll voting period and on election day. These inspectors are monitoring that electoral material and the conduct of campaigners comply with the legislation. Directions given by an inspector or other election officials to ensure compliance with the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 and support safety around polling places must be followed.

9. Close of registration for third-party campaigners

A reminder that third-party campaigners must be registered for the elections in a local government area before paying for more than $2,000 in electoral expenditure.
A third-party campaigner is a person or entity (other than a political party, candidate, group, elected member, or associated entity) that incurs more than $2,000 in electoral expenditure for an election in a local government area between 1 July 2021 and election day.
Electoral expenditure incurred by a third-party campaigner is expenditure that has the dominant purpose of promoting or opposing a political party or candidate or influencing the vote at an election.

Registration of third-party campaigners closes on Monday, 29 November. Use the following form to apply to register as a third-party campaigner: EF.735 Application to register a third-party campaigner and notice of appointment of official agent.

When registering, a third-party campaigner must also appoint an official agent, who is responsible for managing and disclosing the third-party campaigner’s political donations and electoral expenditure.  This includes operating a campaign account on behalf of the third-party campaigner.

Registration only takes effect when confirmed by the NSW Electoral Commission, not the date a third-party campaigner applies for registration.

The details of registered third-party campaigners and official agents are included in publicly available registers published on our website.

Once registered, third-party campaigners and official agents whose registered details change must notify us within 30 days by submitting the following form: EF.740 Notice of change in registered particulars.

More information on registering for the election and updating your registered details.

10. Funding and Disclosure Online

A reminder that Funding and Disclosure Online is the NSW Electoral Commission’s online portal that political participants can use to meet their legal obligations under NSW electoral funding laws.

Funding and Disclosure Online is a convenient, secure and accessible way for candidates, groups, elected members, and party agents to interact with us, and we encourage those who have not yet set up their access to do so as soon as possible in order to be ready to submit political donation disclosures that are due early in 2022.

The portal can be used to complete a range of tasks including submitting donation and expenditure disclosures, maintaining registered details with us, and tracking the progress of what you submit.

Registered candidates, current councillors and mayors, and political parties have obligations to disclose their political donations and electoral expenditure to the NSW Electoral Commission for disclosure periods up to and including the end of the 2021-22 financial year.  If you set up access to Funding and Disclosure Online now you will be able to start entering the details of your political donations and electoral expenditure to make it easier when it is time to submit your disclosures.

Get started with Funding and Disclosure Online by requesting access.

When we have approved your access you will receive an email to activate your account. When your account is activated you can login to Funding and Disclosure Online at any time.

Find out more about Funding and Disclosure Online and what the portal can be used for.