Go to content

2024 NSW Local Government elections: Political participants bulletin No.2

Bulletin No.2 
Issued 25 June 2024

On this page

Election calendar

Key dates for the 2024 Local Government elections to be held on 14 September can be found on our website.

Candidate and participant information

The 2024 NSW Local Government elections event page contains information to assist participants.

A series of webinars for candidates and other political participants in the lead-up to the elections will provide detailed information about election processes and obligations. Each webinar is recorded and published on our website along with any questions asked and answers provided. View the schedule, watch the recordings and register for upcoming webinars.

A recording of the election funding, disclosures and compliance webinar is now available on our website. The webinar covers the following topics:

  • electoral funding and campaign finance laws
  • candidate and group registrations, and the difference between registering and nominating
  • political donations and donation caps
  • prohibited donors and unlawful political donations
  • electoral expenditure and expenditure caps
  • disclosing donations and expenditure
  • making allegations
  • resources and support.

Candidate and participant helpdesk

The helpdesk is available for candidates, political parties and other political participants. All enquiries relating to the nominations process, electoral material, ballot papers, ballot paper draw, counting and results, scrutineers, candidate workers, the registration process, political donations and expenditure cap rules, campaign accounts and compliance can be directed to the candidate helpdesk.

The helpdesk is available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday on 1300 022 011 or by email as follows:

Registration for candidates and groups

Candidates and groups of candidates must register for the election before accepting political donations or making payments for electoral expenditure. Current councillors seeking re-election do not need to be registered before accepting political donations or making payments for electoral expenditure.

Being registered as a candidate or group is a separate process to being nominated. Candidates and groups who do not register before being nominated are taken to be registered once they have been validly nominated. From that time, political donations can be lawfully accepted, and payments can be made for electoral expenditure for the election.

Registrations are now open. Candidate registration for the election closes at 12 noon Wednesday, 14 August 2024. All nominated candidates and groups that did not apply to be registered will be registered by the NSW Electoral Commission from the day they are nominated, enabling all candidates and groups to accept political donations and make payments for electoral expenditure from that time.

Apply to be registered as a candidate or group using Funding and Disclosure Online. If you are not able to use the online system email fdc@elections.nsw.gov.au for a PDF/paper registration form. 

Registration takes effect when confirmed by the NSW Electoral Commission, not the date you apply to register.

The details of registered candidates and groups are included in a publicly available register.

Read more about registering as a candidate or group.

Nomination as a candidate

Registration as a candidate or group does not mean that the candidate or group has been nominated, or that the candidate or group is eligible to be nominated for the election. Registration as a candidate or group is for the purpose of the candidate or group accepting political donations or making payments for electoral expenditure (see below for details about the registration process).

Being nominated as a candidate or forming a group is a separate process to registration, the purpose of which is to have the candidate or group included on the ballot paper.

To stand as a candidate and have your name included on the ballot paper for the election, you must lodge a completed nomination form and pay the nomination deposit during the period Monday, 5 August 2024 to 12 noon, Wednesday, 14 August 2024. Nominations cannot be accepted after this time.

Candidates who wish to form a group and request a group voting square (if applicable) on the ballot paper must also complete that request by 12 noon on Wednesday, 14 August 2024.

Our next webinar is about the nomination process, at 11am Thursday, 27 June 2024. Please see above for how to register.

Upcoming actions requested of registered parties

We will shortly contact each registered political party by email to confirm certain details for the election. The information can be emailed to candidates@elections.nsw.gov.au.

Party administrator details for the Nominations Online Management System (NOMS)

It is recommended registered political parties and candidates use NOMS to prepare and lodge nomination and grouping forms and to pay nomination deposits.

A party administrator must be set up for each party in NOMS. We require the name, contact phone number and an email address for the party administrator. This email address will be used to access NOMS and the party administrator will receive all notifications on the progress of each candidate nomination and/or group.  

The registered officer and deputy registered officer will be copied into each email to the party’s administrator, to ensure visibility of the progress of each candidate nomination and group form. 

Confirm registered name or abbreviation to appear on ballot papers

As part of the configuration of NOMS, we will also ask that parties indicate whether they intend for the full party name or its registered abbreviation to appear on the ballot paper.

Please note a party may change this preference during the nomination period.

Confirm party acronym for the election results website

While full party names or registered abbreviations appear on our results website, some sections of that website use an acronym for each party, which is limited to no more than four letters.

A proposed acronym will be sent to each party, which will be the same acronym used for the 2021 NSW Local Government elections (if applicable). The registered officer or deputy registered officer of the party will be invited to propose an alternative acronym.

Postal vote applications

Postal vote applications open Tuesday, 6 August 2024. Eligible electors can apply online, over the phone, or by completing a paper form available for download on our website.

Any political party or candidate intending to distribute postal vote applications to electors that also includes electoral material must use the approved form of the application. You can request a copy of the approved form by emailing candidates@elections.nsw.gov.au.

If you intend to distribute postal vote applications that includes electoral material it is recommended that a copy of your final artwork is provided to the NSW Electoral Commission for review, which may help to identify any issues of non-compliance with legislative requirements.

Your artwork, including any reply-paid envelope provided with the postal vote application, must not be designed to give the appearance that it is being sent directly to the NSW Electoral Commission when, in fact, the envelope is to be sent elsewhere.

Completed postal vote applications returned by electors directly to you must be sent to the NSW Electoral Commission for processing as soon as possible, to ensure postal votes are distributed to electors in a timely manner.

All applications must be received by the NSW Electoral Commission by 6pm on Monday, 9 September 2024. Applications received after this time cannot be accepted.

Registration of third-party campaigners

Any person or entity (that isn’t a candidate, group, elected member, party or associated entity) that wants to incur more than $2,000 in electoral expenditure for an election in an area or ward between 1 July 2024 and election day must be registered as a third-party campaigner. Third-party campaigner registrations are now open and close on Monday, 9 September 2024

A third-party campaigner must appoint an official agent. The official agent is responsible for managing and disclosing the political donations and electoral expenditure of the campaigner. More information on third-party campaigners can be found on our website

Amendments to registered details of candidates, groups or third-party campaigners

If your registered details change you must notify us within 30 days via Funding and Disclosure Online or by emailing fdc@elections.nsw.gov.au

Determining who is responsible for compliance with electoral funding laws

The Electoral Funding Act 2018 determines who is responsible for complying with electoral funding laws, including fulfilling the following requirements:

  • making disclosures of political donations and electoral expenditure
  • accepting political donations and making payments for electoral expenditure
  • operating a campaign account.

In most cases, the person responsible for complying with electoral funding laws at local government elections is as follows:

  • for a political party – the party agent
  • for a councillor or mayor – the councillor or mayor
  • for a candidate including a candidate who is a member of a group – the candidate
  • for a group of candidates – the lead candidate of the group
  • for a third-party campaigner – the official agent

The only exception is where the NSW Electoral Commission has been notified, using the approved form, that a party agent of a registered party has agreed to be responsible for the political donations and electoral expenditure of a councillor, mayor or candidate who is a member of the party, or for a group whose members are members of the party.

Further information is available on the NSW Electoral Commission website.  

Funding and Disclosure Online

A reminder to use Funding and Disclosure Online to register as a candidate, group or third-party campaigner and disclose political donations and electoral expenditure.

Funding and Disclosure Online is a convenient, secure and accessible way for candidates, groups, elected members, third-party campaigners 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.

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.

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, groups, current councillors and mayors, third-party campaigners, associated entities, 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 2024-25 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.

Find out more about Funding and Disclosure Online.

Administration of the 2024 elections in Fairfield and Liverpool

Fairfield City and Liverpool City councils have engaged an alternative electoral services provider to administer their elections.

Please note:

  • participants in the Fairfield City and Liverpool City council elections must contact those councils directly about the administration of nominations, registration of electoral material, applying for postal votes, other voting options and the declaration of results for those elections
  • however, information provided by the NSW Electoral Commission about the registration of candidates, groups and third-party campaigners, political donations, electoral expenditure and disclosures still applies to the elections for these two councils
  • offences under electoral laws for all council elections are enforced by the NSW Electoral Commission.