Local council elections delivered under extraordinary circumstances

Image of hand putting letter in postboxIn October 2020, the VEC delivered postal elections for 76* Victorian local councils.

With much of its workforce working from home, the VEC moved operational activity for the elections online wherever possible – this included its candidate information sessions and interactive seminars.

At the close of nominations on 22 September, 2,187 candidates had nominated for 622 council vacancies in 298 separate elections. Uncontested elections occurred for 26 wards across the state, meaning voting was not required for these elections.

By-elections were triggered for East Ward in Hindmarsh Shire Council – where only one candidate nominated for the two vacancies – and South West Ward in Northern Grampians Shire Council, where no nominations were received for the single-councillor vacancy. These by-elections will be held in November and December 2020.

The VEC implemented COVIDSafe hygiene and social distancing practices across its network, including election offices established across the state, to protect all participants in the elections. Many operational measures were also implemented, which included:

  • removal of counter service for replacement ballot packs in Metropolitan Melbourne
  • additional social distancing during vote counting activities and exercising of the regulatory relief to allow caps on scrutineer numbers.

The VEC liaised closely with Australia Post to ensure the fast-tracking of priority paid mail for all postal ballots mailed and returned for the elections. A total of 4.25 million ballot packs were mailed to voters, with a further 87,000 replacement ballot packs.

With the counting timeline necessarily extended to observe COVIDSafe measures, the declaration of results for all councils is anticipated to be completed by Friday 13 November. Results for each council can be accessed from the Results page.

*Casey City Council, South Gippsland Shire Council and Whittlesea City Council were under administration and di not have elections this year.