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2022 NSW Local government elections: Political participants bulletin No.4

Bulletin No. 4
Issued 28 July 2022

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1. Election day

Polling places will open on election day, Saturday 30 July 2022, from 8am until 6pm. Voter projections for pre-poll and polling places are available for each council under step 5 of the Six steps to being a candidate.

2. Distribution of registered electoral material on election day

Only electoral material that has been registered with the NSW Electoral Commission is to be distributed on election day by political parties, groups, candidates, and any other persons or organisations. This includes any material that is handed out or left in a position to indicate it is for collection by the public.

Posters and placards displayed on election day do not need to have been registered but must still comply with the requirements of the legislation.

Until 6pm on election day, Saturday, 30 July 2022, ALL electoral material must comply with legislative requirements.

For information on the legislative requirements for electoral material please refer to section 15 of the Candidate handbook.

Electoral material registered for distribution on election day can be viewed on the NSW Electoral Commission website.

3. Reporting non-complying electoral material

If you believe that specific electoral material handed out, displayed or published during the regulated election period is or was unlawful, you can report this to the NSW Electoral Commission in writing by emailing candidates@elections.nsw.gov.au.

A report about alleged non-compliance with electoral material laws should include a copy of the electoral material. For electoral material published on the internet, a URL link or the name of a social media account and a screenshot should be provided.

All email reports received about alleged non-complying electoral material or other matters will be acknowledged but a detailed response about what action may or has been taken by the NSW Electoral Commission cannot be provided. The NSW Electoral Commission can only disclose detailed information about its compliance matters and enforcement actions where specifically authorised or permitted by law. Reports of alleged contraventions of electoral material or other legislative requirements at these elections will be dealt with, however, in accordance with the NSW Electoral Commission’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy and Procedures

4. Counting and results

Count locations

The locations and opening hours of the Returning Officer offices can be found on the NSW Electoral Commission’s website.

Postal vote scrutiny

The close of receipt of postal vote certificate envelopes is: 6pm, Friday 12 August 2022.

The scrutiny of all postal vote certificate envelopes will be conducted at the Returning Officer’s office. This includes:

Postal vote scrutiny timeline

Postal Vote Extraction and Count Timeline

  • Wednesday 27 July to Friday 29 July at 10am

  • Monday 1 August to Friday 5 August at 10am

  • Monday 8 August to Thursday 11 August at 10am

  • Friday 12 August at 10am and after 6pm if required (close of receipt postal votes is 6pm)

  • 9am, Monday 1 August (Progressive Count 1)
  • 9am, Wednesday 10 August (Progressive Count 2)
  • 11am Friday 12 August (extraction only) and 6:15pm (Progressive Count 3)

Scrutiny of other declaration votes

Other declaration votes are:

  • Enrolment (including Name Not on Roll)
  • Name Already Marked as Voted (NAMAV)

The scrutiny of other declaration vote envelopes will also be conducted at the Returning Officer’s office. This includes:

  • scrutiny of the other declaration vote envelopes – this is to determine whether the declaration vote is to be admitted to the count
  • extraction of ballot papers from the accepted declaration vote envelopes.

Declaration Vote Scrutiny Timeline*

Declaration Vote Extraction and Count Timeline

  • 9am, Saturday 30 July - pre-poll declaration votes

  • 9am, Monday 1 August - polling place declaration votes 

  • 9am, Tuesday 2 August - polling place declaration votes (continues if required)

  • 9am, Wednesday 3 August

Note: Telephone voting ballot papers (if any issued) will also be counted on this day

*Enrolment (including Name Not on Roll’ and ‘Name Already Marked as Voted’)

Election night counting

Initial counts will be conducted on election night from 6pm to approximately 10.30pm for the following venues:

  • each polling place – all ordinary ballot papers
  • Returning Officer’s office - all ordinary ballot papers for some, but not all, pre-polls.

Initial count results will be published on the NSW Electoral Commission website as soon as practicable after completion.

Sunday following election day

No vote counting will occur on the Sunday following election day.

From Monday following election day

Initial counts will continue at the Returning Officer’s office as required for:

  • remaining pre-polls and any polling places that did not complete their initial counts on election night
  • postal vote ballot papers
  • declaration vote and telephone voting ballot papers.

Votes cast using telephone voting will be reported on the NSW Electoral Commission’s website with the Enrolment/Provisional votes.

The NSW Electoral Commission website will continue to be updated as each initial count is completed.  The final initial count is usually completed after the close of receipt of postal vote certificates at 6pm, Friday 12 August 2022.

Check Counts

After the initial counts, all ballot papers undergo a check count.  The check count is conducted at the Returning Officer’s office. This comprises of:

  • Batching - counting the ballot papers into bundles of 50 without examining the preferences, and

  • Data entry – all the preferences marked on the ballot papers are manually entered into the NSW Electoral Commission's computer count system.  The data entry process for each ballot paper is completed by two election officials and is reconciled by the count system.

The check count will commence on the Monday following election day and will continue after the close of receipt of postal vote certificates until all data entry is complete.

Distribution of Preferences

The Distribution of Preferences (DoP) to determine the elected candidates can only be conducted after the close of receipt of postal vote certificates and all check counts are complete.

It is anticipated the DoP will be conducted at the Returning Officer's office using the NSW Electoral Commission's computer count system at 10am on Monday, 15 August 2022. It will only take a few minutes to complete. 

The final count reports will be published on the NSW Electoral Commission website as soon as practicable after the DoP is complete.

5. Electors affected by COVID isolation

Postal voting was available for electors in COVID-19 isolation up until the close of applications at 5pm Monday, 25 July 2022.

Local government election legislation does not provide another voting channel for electors who may be required to self-isolate on election day.

Electors who have COVID-19 on election day or are household contacts should follow NSW Health Guidelines about self-isolation.

If an elector is unable to vote because they are in COVID-19 self-isolation they will, after the election, receive an apparent failure to vote notice. These electors should advise the Commissioner of their inability to vote because of COVID-19 isolation and will not be fined.

6. Further information/candidate helpdesk

Further information regarding the local government elections including key dates can be found on the NSW Electoral Commission website or by contacting the Candidate Helpdesk on 1300 022 011 or candidates@elections.nsw.gov.au