Local government ordinary elections are held on the third Saturday in October every two years. The next state-wide ordinary elections are scheduled for Saturday 16 October 2021.
The timetable that will apply in respect of ordinary elections conducted as postal ballots in October 2021 is here.
Councillors are elected for terms of four years in Western Australia. Elections are held every two years for half of the council, and candidates are elected using the first-past-the-post voting system. If a vacancy occurs within a term, an extraordinary election is held.
The Electoral Commissioner is responsible for conducting all local government postal elections in Western Australia and can also conduct voting in person elections on request under the Local Government Act 1995. By making the Electoral Commissioner responsible for these elections, the local governments concerned ensure that elections are conducted independently and with impartiality.
Postal elections for local government were first trialled by four local governments in 1995. This increased to eight in 1997, 34 in 1999, 47 in 2001, 55 in 2003, 50 in 2005, 64 in 2007, 69 in 2009, 74 in 2011, 76 in 2013, 82 in 2015, and 85 in 2017.
Postal elections are more convenient for many electors and typically result in a higher rate of voter participation than in person ballots.
For local government elections, rolls close at 5.00 pm, 50 days prior to polling day. All electors should check their enrolment details are up to date before rolls close.
If the number of candidates is equal to the number of vacancies, the candidate is elected unopposed. If there are more candidates than vacancies, the election will proceed.
For postal elections, all eligible electors will receive a postal voting package two to three weeks prior to polling day, depending on the service delivery of Australia Post. The package will include a list of candidates, ballot papers, instructions on how to vote and a declaration. To vote, follow the instructions included in the package.
The Returning Officer must receive your postal voting package before 6.00 pm on polling day. If you do not think that your postal voting package can be returned by post in time, you can deliver it by hand to a polling official.
For local governments conducting their own voting in person election prospective candidates should contact the local government directly.
While voting in a local government election is not compulsory in Western Australia, all electors are strongly encouraged to vote.
Electors who wish to nominate as a candidate in a local government election must complete a valid nomination application and present it to the Returning Officer before nominations close. Prior to nominating all candidates must complete the online candidate induction from the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries website.
Nominations for a local government election open 44 days before polling day and close at 4.00 pm, 37 days before polling day. Use the Commission’s Nomination Builder to electronically complete the nomination form and candidate profile.
Other local government elections
The Commission may also be requested to conduct extraordinary elections or other polls on behalf of a local a government. Current local government elections being run by the Commission.