Your Guide to the NSW Local Government Elections, Including the All-Important Democracy Sausage

Your Guide to the NSW Local Government Elections, Including the All-Important Democracy Sausage
Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The NSW Local Government elections are on the way, folks. Did you forget? Even after your mum told you to set a reminder? It happens, we get it. If you’re feeling at a loss regarding how this process works, and are keen to learn about where in NSW you’ll be voting in the 2021 election, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What are the NSW Local Government elections?

If you’re feeling rusty about this NSW voting event, that may be because the elections were postponed twice because of our old mate, COVID-19.

As the Elections NSW website writes:

There are 128 local government councils in NSW. Each council represents a local government area. 124 councils will be holding elections on Saturday, 4 December 2021 for the election of councillors. Some councils will also be holding mayoral elections, constitutional referendums and/or polls.

Voting is compulsory at all NSW local government elections except for council polls.

124 NSW councils will be asking you to vote for a government councillor, and 35 will be holding mayoral elections, as well.

Those councils include: Ballina, Bellingen, City of Broken Hill, Burwood, Byron, Canada Bay, City of Cessnock, City of Coffs Harbour, Dungog, Eurobodalla, City of Fairfield, City of Griffith, Hornsby, Hunter’s Hill, Kempsey, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Lismore, City of Liverpool, City of Maitland, Mosman, Nambucca Valley, City of Newcastle, City of Orange, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Port Stephens, Richmond Valley, City of Shellharbour, City of Shoalhaven, Singleton, City of Sydney, The Hills Shire, Uralla, City of Willoughby, Wollondilly, and City of Wollongong.

The only councils that are not holding local elections on December 4 are Balranald, Central Darling, Central Coast and Wingecarribee. City of Fairfield and City of Penrith have also been listed as exceptions.

Aside from the above, failure to vote will see you hit with a $55 fine.

How do I check if I’m enrolled?

If you’re unsure about your enrolment details, you can search to see what’s listed on the NSW government website here.

You can also update your enrolment details via the NSW Electoral Commission. However, it’s worth noting that changes and new enrolments for voting in the NSW Local Government elections in 2021 closed on Monday, 25 October 2021. 

Where do I vote?

To see where you should be voting in the NSW Local Government election for 2021, you can hop online and use the government address search.

Here, you’ll find a map populated with blue and orange icons. Blue icons represent locations where you can vote early, and Orange icons are used to highlight where you can vote on election day – December 4, 2021, between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.

How can I vote early in the NSW Local Government election for 2021?

Loads of people will be wondering how to avoid crowds and get their voting done early, here. As mentioned earlier, your address search will help you see locations for voting ahead of time.

This option has been available from Monday, November 22 and will run through to Friday, December 3, 2021.

Keep in mind that there is no absentee voting option here.

Who are the candidates?

Well, that depends on your council. You can check out who has put their hat in the ring by searching your council area here.

The ABC has profiled a number of young, diverse Aussies who are running in this election – sharing that there is a lot of interest in seeing big changes made when it comes to social issues like climate justice, economic justice and social justice.

Names the outlet highlighted are Jananie Janarthana, who is running for a seat in the City of Ryde for Labor, Karen Wright, who is running as an independent in the Bega Valley, HY William Chan, who is running in the City of Sydney with the Clover Moore Independent Team, and Haris Strangas, who is running for a seat in Sutherland Shire for the Liberals.

Will I get a democracy sausage at the end?

Maybe? That comes down to the place you’re voting at.

The Sydney Morning Herald shared a statement they received on this that reads like a giant ‘we’ll see’:

“We do urge community groups considering sausage sizzles and cake stalls to take an extra cautious approach this time. Please check any advice from NSW Health and local school administrators before making any plans.”

So, maybe pack snacks.

When will we know the results?

There’s a full timeline published on the Government Elections website, which you can check out here. A progressive declaration of results has been listed for December 21 through 23, 2021.

And that’s about it! Happy voting, NSW friends.

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