Becoming a council election candidate

Becoming a council candidate

Local council elections occur every four years on the fourth Saturday in October.

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

Candidates thinking of nominating are encouraged to read the most recent Candidate Handbook to familiarise themselves with the key requirements and responsibilities of nominating for council elections.

A Returning Officer, appointed prior to the election period, will be available to discuss specific election arrangements and answer any questions from potential candidates. They will also provide the latest handbooks and forms for the election.

The VEC will hold information sessions about the election process approximately one week before the close of nominations.

Can I be a candidate?

To become a candidate you must be enrolled as a voter in the municipality in which 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.

When can I nominate?

Nominations must be made by 12 noon on nomination day at the relevant election office. Nomination day is 32 days before election day.

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 four per cent or more of the total number of first preference votes received by all candidates

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 municipality in which they intend to stand. The voters roll includes:

Candidates can stand for election for any ward within the municipality, even if their enrolled address is outside that ward.

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.

Each candidate must personally sign an electoral roll confidentiality agreement to ensure that the data is used solely for campaign purposes in relation to the election.

All copies of the roll that are provided to candidates must be destroyed or returned after the declaration of the result for that 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 and by-elections.

What happens at an uncontested election?

If, at the close of nominations or 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.

Candidates should see what happens if there aren't many candidates for more information.

Stand at council by-elections

A council by-election occurs when a councillor in a single-councillor ward resigns, or is unable to complete their term.

The requirements for nominating in council by-elections are exactly the same as those for nominating for local council elections.

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