Local governments in Western Australia
Western Australia is currently made up of 139 local governments, including Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Local government councillors are elected to represent that community. A leader is also elected for a local government, a mayor in a city or town, or shire president in a shire. The leader can be elected by the community, or by the councillors who represent them. Local governments may also be divided into wards, with councillors elected to represent the communities in the different wards.
A council can be made up of between six to 15 councillors, depending on the number set by the individual local government. Where the local community, and not the councillors, elect a mayor, councillor numbers are limited to between five to 14.
In addition to the elected councillors, staff are employed to administer local government, overseen by the Chief Executive Officer.
For more information, visit the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
Enrolling to vote in a local government election
All eligible electors must enrol to vote. When you enrol to vote, you are enrolled for Commonwealth, State and local government elections. You can check your enrolment online.
All residents in a local government district who are enrolled on the State Electoral Roll are automatically enrolled on the corresponding local government roll. People who own or occupy property within a local government district, can apply to their local government to be included on the roll as an owner/occupier, as long as they are eligible electors. A body corporate may apply to have up to two eligible electors to be included on the owner/occupier roll.
All eligible electors are allowed to vote once in any district or ward where they are enrolled. If a person lives within one local district or ward, and owns or occupies property in a different district or ward, they may be entitled to a vote in both areas, provided they are enrolled for both. For more information or to enrol as an owner/occupier, contact your local government.
Voting in a local government election
Voting in a local government election is not compulsory in WA. However, all electors are strongly encouraged to vote.
There are two types of local government elections - postal elections and in person elections. At a postal election, electors are sent an election package which includes the ballot papers and may then vote at home and post the completed papers. At a voting in person election, electors may vote early or by post but most choose in person on election day at a polling place within the district.
Most local government elections administered by the Commission are conducted by post. It has become the most popular means of conducting local government elections and generally has a higher elector participation rate.
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. Your postal voting package must be received before 6.00pm 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.
Voting in person elections
On polling day, electors go to designated polling places to cast their vote. Polling places are open from 8.00am to 6.00pm. If an elector can’t attend a polling place on polling day, they can apply for an absent, early or postal vote. To apply for postal voting papers, download and complete the form. For more information or to find a polling place, contact your local government.