An election like no other

Illustration of a woman placing a ballot pack into a post boxDuring October 2020 the local government elections were conducted in exceptional circumstances associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

At the close of roll, over 4.33 million voters were enrolled to vote and a total of 2,194 candidates nominated for 298 individual elections across 76 councils – making it the highest number of candidates and simultaneous elections to date.

The VEC worked closely with Australia Post to ensure that ballot material was delivered to voters and returned to election managers within tight timeframes for the State’s first full postal election.

The average voter turnout of 81.4% was a significant improvement on the 2016 average turnout of 72.1% and marks the highest turnout rate ever recorded for council elections in the State (previously 75.1% in 2005).

Voters not only turned out at a higher rate; more of them voted formally. The average rate of informal ballot papers across the State was 4.7%, a significant decline from 6.3% in 2016 (5.3% in 2012).

Counting for all elections took place in the 3 weeks following the close of voting. The election count was conducted under a strict COVIDSafe plan, limiting the number of people able to participate in and observe the counting activities. Whilst it was anticipated that all elections would be declared no later than Friday 13 November, the results for all elections were declared by Wednesday 11 November 2020.