Local Government Elections – 21 October 2017

The results of all contested ballots for the 89 local governments where elections were conducted by the WA Electoral Commission were declared on Saturday night.

Record numbers were set at these elections across a number of fronts – including the total enrolment, the number of postal vote packages distributed, the number of candidates who nominated and the participation rates recorded at many local governments.

These elections were also characterised by a number of very close counts which required verification counts to be conducted. At a number of elections four or less votes separated a winning candidate from the next closest. Two elections involved a tie where the returning officer was required to conduct a draw to determine the successful candidate – in the Town Ward at the Shire of Carnarvon and for the district election at the Shire of Katanning.

These elections also reversed the trend of declining elector participation at local government elections with the best state-wide participation rate at postal elections in a decade. Once all data is available, a final state-wide participation rate of around 34% is likely.

While the overall level of participation at these voluntary local government elections is still disappointing, elector participation is significantly up on the record state-wide low of 27.5% recorded at the 2015 ordinary elections.

Some WAEC elections statistics:

  • The Commission managed elections for 89 of the State’s 139 local governments.
  • A record 1,146 candidates nominated for the 450 available vacancies – of which 46 were elected unopposed.
  • 1,556,777 postal packages were mailed to electors enrolled in districts or wards where a contested postal ballot was being conducted.
  • At the 11 metropolitan districts where a mayoral election was being held, voter turnout rates ranged from 48% in Cottesloe to 30% in both Cockburn and Joondalup. The average turnout (including both formal and informal votes) for the 11 mayoral elections was 39%.
  • The Shires of Mount Marshall and Victoria Plains (West Ward) both recorded turnout rates of 81%.