Becoming a council election candidate

The next council general elections are scheduled for Saturday 22 October 2016.

For comprehensive information about becoming a council election candidate, download a candidate handbook.

The VEC is conducting candidate information sessions for each council. Check your council’s election page for the times and locations of candidate information sessions. Candidate information kits containing handbooks and forms will be available at these sessions.

Can I be a candidate?

To become a candidate you must be an Australian citizen (or qualified British subject) and enrolled as a voter for the council you wish to stand.

You are not eligible to stand for election if:

  • you are an undischarged bankrupt
  • your property is subject to control under the law relating to bankruptcy
  • you are of unsound mind
  • you have been convicted of certain criminal offences (within seven years of the election)
  • you work for the council in which you intend to become a councilor
  • you are a councillor with another council or
  • you are a Federal Member of Parliament or a Member of Parliament in any state or territory.

Further details are outlined in the Local Government Act 1989 (external link).

If you’re employed by a Federal or State Member of Parliament as a Ministerial Officer, a Parliamentary Adviser or an Electorate Officer, you are eligible to stand for election, but will not be eligible to take office without first resigning from your Parliamentary position. You must also take leave from any of these positions and not perform any of your duties for these positions during the election period.

How do I nominate?

The Candidate Helper will be available from 1 September to help you pre-fill your nomination form and other forms relevant to being a candidate before lodging these with the Returning Officer.

Once completed, print the form and lodge it with the Returning Officer. Your nomination form must be signed in front of the Returning Officer.

To complete the nomination form, you must print and sign the nomination form. You can also complete your candidate statement online.

Please note that nominations cannot be submitted until 15 September.

Returning Officers can also discuss specific election arrangements and answer any questions from potential candidates.

When can I nominate?

Nominations for the 2016 council elections open on Thursday 15 September 2016 and close at 12 noon on Tuesday 20 September 2016.

Late nominations cannot be accepted.

How much does it cost?

Each candidate nomination must be accompanied by a fee of $250. This must be paid in cash or by cheque drawn on a bank, building society or credit union. Personal cheques or money orders cannot be accepted. Cheques should be made payable to the Victorian Electoral Commission.

The fee will be returned if the candidate:

  • is elected or
  • receives 4% or more of the total number of first preference votes received by all candidates or
  • passes away.

All other candidates will forfeit their deposits.

For further information please see the most recent Candidate Handbook.

Do I need to live in the area?

Candidates must be on the voters roll for the council they wish to stand for.

Candidates can stand for election for any ward within a council, even if their enrolled address is in a different ward within the council.

Can I have a copy of the roll?

Candidates will be provided with an electronic copy of the roll for the election they are contesting, free of charge. This file can be printed if required and will be in a format suitable for looking up names and mail-merging letters.

In gaining access to the electronic roll, candidates must declare their use of the data is solely for campaign purposes in relation to their election. All copies of the roll provided to candidates must be destroyed after the declaration of result for the election.

Can I distribute how-to-vote cards?

Please see how-to-vote cards for information on registering and distributing this material.

Am I entitled to public funding?

There is no public funding for candidates in local council elections.

What happens at an uncontested election?

If, at the close of nominations, or after nominations close on the retirement of a candidate, there are only enough nominations to fill the number of vacancies advertised, the Returning Officer must declare the nominated candidates elected and give public notice of their election.

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