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2023 NSW State election: Political participants bulletin No.11

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1. Electoral material registration closes on Friday

All electoral material to be distributed on election day must be registered with the NSW Electoral Commission. It is an offence to distribute unregistered electoral material on election day.

The online registration system is available to register any material that is intended for distribution on election day. Registration of electoral material closes at 5pm on Friday, 17 March 2023.

2. Early voting commences on Saturday

Early voting is available on Saturday, 18 March and from Monday, 20 March to Friday 24 March 2023. Early voting centre opening hours can be found on our website, in the ‘Voting before election day’ accordion.

We also provide the locations and elector projections for early voting centres, election day venues and declared facilities.

3. Postal voting

Applications for postal voting close at 6pm on Monday, 20 March 2023. Candidates and registered political parties that have received postal vote applications must ensure these are delivered to the NSW Electoral Commission as soon as possible before the close of postal vote applications.

Preliminary scrutiny of returned postal votes will occur from Monday, 20 March until Thursday, 6 April at the Centralised Postal Voting Count Centre (CPVCC). Scrutineers can observe all scrutiny and counting processes at the CPVCC.

Information for scrutineers is included in this bulletin.

4. Centralised voting and counting centres

Telephone-assisted voting

Telephone assisted voting (TAV) is only available for electors who are blind or have low vision. TAV will be operating from 8am to 6pm, Monday, 20 March to Friday, 24 March (applications and voting), and 8am to 1pm on election day, Saturday, 25 March (voting only).

Please note there will be no counting of votes at the TAV centre. All ballot boxes and ballot papers will be transported to the CPVCC for counting.

The TAV centre is located at Zenith Building, Tower B, Level 1, 821 Pacific Highway, Chatswood, NSW 2057.

Centralised Postal Vote Count Centre

The CPVCC will complete the scrutiny, extraction and counting of all postal votes returned to the NSW Electoral Commission.

The CPVCC is located at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015.

Centralised Declaration Vote Count Centre

The Centralised Declaration Vote Count Centre (CDVCC) will complete the scrutiny, extraction and counting of declaration votes issued at all voting centres.

The CDVCC is located at the ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre, Hall 6, 14 Darling Drive, Sydney NSW 2000.

Legislative Council Count Centre

The Legislative Council Count Centre (LCCC) will complete the Check Count (Batching and Data Entry) of the ordinary Legislative Council ballot papers that were issued at all voting centres, early voting centres and declared facilities.

The LCCC is located at the ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre, Hall 7, 14 Darling Drive, Sydney NSW 2000.

5. Candidate / party workers and scrutineers

Role of a candidate and/or party worker

Candidate and party workers act on behalf of candidates and/or political parties to distribute electoral material (including how-to-vote cards) at early voting centres prior to election day and voting centres on election day. They are not required to complete any appointment forms to engage in this task.

Candidate workers or party workers are allowed to:

  • distribute electoral material outside 6 metres from the entrance of a voting centre, subject to any directions relating to safety and order issued by local election officials

  • use the washroom facilities

  • enter the voting centre when voting is occurring to discuss safety or order issues with the voting centre manager, or to collect or store electoral material (if space permits) when voting is not occurring. A campaign t-shirt may be worn by workers when enter a voting centre for those purposes.

More information about candidate and party workers.

Role of scrutineers

Scrutineers are appointed by candidates and registered political parties and advise them on the procedures being followed by the NSW Electoral Commission staff, election manager and election officials. Their role is to provide transparency for candidates and political parties that the election process is carried out fairly, impartially and with integrity. 

Candidates and registered political parties are entitled to appoint scrutineers to observe all voting and counting processes, at any place where voting is carried out, declaration votes are scrutinised, or ballot papers are counted, including at:

  • all voting centres and early voting centres

  • all election managers’ offices

  • the CPVCC, CDVCC, LCCC and TAV centre.

Please contact the candidate helpdesk on 1300 022 011 to arrange access for scrutineers to the CPVCC, CDVCC, LCCC or TAV centre.

Appointment of scrutineers

A scrutineer must be appointed in writing using the Appointment of scrutineer form SE.213. Scrutineers are required to present a completed Appointment of scrutineer form each day at each location they attend.
Scrutineers can be appointed by a:

  • registered political party

  • Legislative Assembly candidate for the district

  • lead candidate of a Legislative Council group, or

  • Legislative Council ungrouped candidate.

Visit our website to view the Scrutineer and party candidate worker guidelines, Scrutineer policy, and more information about the role of scrutineers

6. Compliance operations during the regulated election period

The NSW Electoral Commission reviews and, where appropriate, investigates possible breaches of electoral laws. Some breaches of the law are identified through our own compliance work. Others are reported to us by members of the public or referred by other agencies.

During the regulated election period (6 March to the end of election day, 25 March 2023) the NSW Electoral Commission’s compliance team is monitoring and reviewing reports of contraventions of electoral laws, including on social media platforms. NSW Electoral Commission investigators may be visiting voting venues during the early voting period and on election day. These investigators are monitoring that electoral material and the conduct of campaigners comply with the legislation. During voting, election managers also monitor and respond to common compliance issues, particularly regarding the 6-metre rule and the display of electoral material at and near venues.

At this election, the Electoral Commissioner has issued guidelines for election officials around enforcing contraventions of the 6-metre rule. These were mentioned in our last bulletin and are published on our website.

Directions given by an investigator or other election officials to ensure compliance with the Electoral Act 2017 and to support safety around polling places must be followed.

Relevant principles for responding to breaches of electoral laws include:

  • urgency and impact: reports are prioritised according to considerations including legislative timeframes and the potential impact of the reported breach on the election

  • available resources: decisions are made about dealing with reported breaches that support available resources being used appropriately

  • proportionality: any action taken will be proportionate to the seriousness of potential breaches of the law and the circumstances of the case.

More information about reporting a breach of electoral laws.

7. Close of registration for third-party campaigners

Third-party campaigner registration for the election closes on Monday, 20 March 2023.

Third-party campaigners must register for the election before making payments of more than $2,000 for electoral expenditure incurred during the capped expenditure period for the election (1 October 2022 to election day). Making payments when more than $2,000 is incurred without being registered is an offence under NSW electoral funding law.

A third-party campaigner is an individual or entity that campaigns in relation to the election but does not stand as a candidate or group, and is not a political party, associated entity or elected member. When registering, a third-party campaigner must appoint an official agent who is required to comply with disclosure and campaign account legal requirements on behalf of the third-party campaigner.

Apply to be registered as a third-party campaigner and appoint an official agent using Funding and Disclosure Online.

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

Fact sheet: Third-party campaigners at the 2023 NSW State election

Fact sheet: Organisation not registered as parties that are supporting candidates in the 2023 NSW State election

8. Pre-election disclosure period and capped expenditure period

Pre-election disclosure period

The pre-election disclosure period continues until the end of election day, Saturday, 25 March 2023.

Disclosures of reportable political donations received and made during the pre-election disclosure period must be submitted by parties, elected members, candidates, groups of candidates, associated entities, and third-party campaigners within 21 days of the donation being made or received. For example, if a reportable donation is received on election day, it must be disclosed to the NSW Electoral Commission no later than Monday, 17 April 2023 (which takes into account that election day is on a Saturday).

Breaching the legislative requirements for disclosures may be a criminal offence. The NSW Electoral Commission may issue warnings, penalties, or prosecute offences including failure to lodge a disclosure by the due date and making incomplete disclosures.

Disclosures can be submitted using Funding and Disclosure Online or alternatively using the disclosure forms available on our website.

View pre-election donation disclosures on our website by choosing the following search options:

  • Relevant reporting period: 2022/2023

  • Disclosure types: Pre-Election Donations

More information about pre-election period disclosures.

Capped expenditure period

The capped expenditure period for the election, which commenced on 1 October 2022, also ends at the end of election day. Until then, caps continue to apply to electoral expenditure incurred in connection with the election and it is unlawful to incur electoral expenditure that exceeds the applicable cap. The caps apply to electoral expenditure of political parties and their associated entities, candidates, groups of candidates, and third-party campaigners.

At the end of the financial year political participants are required to submit disclosures of their electoral expenditure incurred during the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023. Annual electoral expenditure disclosures are due 22 September 2023.

View the expenditure caps and the rules that apply to disclosing electoral expenditure.

9. Candidate and participant information webinars

The next webinar will be held at 11am on Tuesday, 21 March 2023 and will cover the following topics:

  • election day

  • counting and results operations and timeline

  • post-election reporting.

Register your attendance for the webinar and find more information about the webinar series.

If you are unable to attend, please note that webinars are recorded and published on the NSW Electoral Commission website.