NSW Local Government by-elections 2022 Bulletin No.1
Issued 15 February 2022
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Postal vote packs have been distributed
To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, a postal pack has been issued to all electors enrolled in Cobar and Tenterfield Ward C Shire Councils, without the need for an application to be made first. Postal pack distribution was completed on 9 February 2022.
Reminder registration of electoral material closes 18 February
The registration of electoral material period commenced on Thursday, 27 January 2022 and closes at 5pm, Friday, 18 February 2022. Electoral material distributed on Election Day must be registered.
"Distribution" also means the placement of electoral material in a public place that can be collected by voters. It is an offence to distribute electoral material on election day unless the material has been registered. Posters are not required to be registered but they must comply with the requirements detailed in the candidate handbook.
Applicants should complete the Application to register electoral material LG.212 available under Step 5 of the ‘Six steps to being a candidate’ on the NSW Electoral Commission website here and email the completed LG.212 form and a copy of the electoral material to email@example.com.
Display of electoral material on the NSW Electoral Commission website
Registered electoral materials are available for display on the NSW Electoral Commission website from the start of pre-poll, Monday, 14 February 2022.
Electoral material that is registered during the first week of pre-poll and prior to the closure of registration of electoral material will be progressively updated to the website.
Scrutiny of postal vote declaration envelopes and extraction of ballot papers
Preliminary scrutiny of postal votes will not occur until the records from all authorised rolls used in polling places on the election day are available. This will ensure that the elector mark off records from pre-poll and election day are checked at the postal scrutiny.
All returned postal votes will be checked against a copy of the consolidated election day rolls to confirm that person has not voted twice. The scrutiny of returned postal vote packs will commence from Thursday 3 March 2022 and continue as postal votes are returned. Scrutiny includes the inspection of all returned postal vote certificates to confirm that they have been properly completed by the elector and a witness. This will confirm the following before the postal vote is accepted:
the elector appears on the electoral roll
the certificate has been signed by the elector and a witness
the certificate has been completed on or before 6pm election day
the elector has not voted by any other voting channel for the election.
To assist scrutineers to understand the process for determining if postal vote certificates have been properly signed and witnessed, the instructions issued by the Electoral Commissioner to election officials are available on our website.
Scrutiny, extraction and counting of postal votes will be conducted at the Returning Officer’s office.
Extraction of the ballot papers from accepted postal votes will commence from Friday 4 March 2022. The scrutiny of whether the ballot papers are formal happens during the counting of the ballot papers.
Scrutiny and extraction of postal votes will be completed following the close of return of postal votes which is 6pm Friday 11 March 2022.
Providing they are following the Electoral Commission’s COVID-19 Protocol for Scrutineers, candidates are entitled to appoint scrutineers to observe the scrutiny of returned postal vote declaration envelopes and the counting of postal ballot papers (see item 4 below).
Counting of postal ballot papers
Dependent on volumes it is expected that initial counts of the extracted postal ballot papers will commence from Friday 4 March and will continue progressively through to the closing date of return of postal votes on 11 March.
Early voting options
All electors can vote in person during the pre-poll voting period. Pre-poll voting will be available from 14 February to 25 February. 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.
iVote is not available for these local council by-elections.
Telephone voting will be available to electors who are blind or have low vision. Electors will need to register for this service by calling the Elector Enquiry Centre on 1300 135 736. Telephone voting will open from 21 February to 25 February from 9am to 5pm and close on election day 26 February 1pm for registrations and to 1.30pm for voting.
Election daily metrics
The NSW Electoral Commission will publish pre-poll and postal voting cumulative totals daily, on our website, during the Local Government By-elections. Details published will include the daily totals on the number of electors who cast a vote during the early voting period.
Rules for campaigning
Candidates are reminded that offences may apply at these by-elections where there are breaches of the rules for campaigning in a local government election – such as not following the “6 metre rule” for canvassing near the entrances to polling or pre-polling places, not following the directions of election officials about campaign activities in the vicinity of polling or pre-polling places and not authorising electoral material properly. Information about electoral material rules.
Close of registration for third-party campaigners
A reminder that third-party campaigners must be registered for an election 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 during the capped expenditure period (11 January 2022 to 26 February 2022).
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 Monday, 21 February. 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 for third-party campaigners.
Funding and Disclosure Online
A reminder that Funding and Disclosure Online is the NSW Electoral Commission’s online portal that political parties and candidates can use to meet their legal obligations under NSW electoral funding laws.
Funding and Disclosure Online is a convenient, secure and accessible way to interact with us, and we encourage those who have not yet set up their access to do so.
Funding and Disclosure Online can be used to complete a range of tasks including submitting political donation and electoral expenditure disclosures, updating registered details, and tracking the progress of what you submit.
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.
Covid-19 safety measures
The NSW Electoral Commission has introduced measures in an effort to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of voters (electors), election staff, candidates, scrutineers and other political participants.
The following are some of the key protection measures to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission at the election:
Mandatory QR check in and check out at all polling places.
Mandatory face masks for all election staff and political participants. The NSW Electoral Commission will have a limited supply of masks available at our venues however political participants are advised to bring their own face masks.
Use of masks by all electors at polling places. The NSW Electoral Commission will have a limited supply of masks available at our polling places.
Queue management and physical distancing will be managed at all voting venues and EM offices by dedicated staff.
Single use pens – electors should bring their own, the NSW Electoral Commission will have pens available if electors do not bring one.
Hand sanitiser will be available at the entrance and exit of polling places and at all ballot paper issuing points.
Distanced voting screens and plastic inserts to allow the screens to be cleaned regularly, with dedicated staff also regularly cleaning other high touch surfaces.
NSW Health Posters and messages reminding electors and staff to stay home if they are unwell
For further information on COVID-19 safety measures, visit our website.