Becoming a local council candidate

Candidate information sessions

If you are considering becoming a candidate, we encourage you to watch our video that outlines the nomination process.

Watch the video

How to nominate

Nominations are open until 12 noon on Tuesday 22 September 2020.

A Candidate Helper application is available online to help you to complete the:

  • nomination form
  • candidate statement
  • candidate questionnaire.

Please note: the Local Government Victoria (LGV) mandatory training reference number cannot be used to access any Candidate Helper forms.

Access Candidate Helper

View a Candidate Helper video tutorial

To nominate, you must:

  • complete the mandatory Local Government Candidate Training before submitting your nomination
  • complete a nomination form
  • make an appointment to submit the hard copy in person with the Election Manager for the council in which you are nominating
  • pay a nomination fee of $250 in cash or with a bank, building society or credit union cheque (no personal cheques).

Make an appointment

To make an appointment, contact the election office for the council in which you wish to nominate.

Election office information

Melbourne City Council nominations

In Melbourne City Council, there are two types of nominations:

  • Leadership Team – Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor
  • Councillors (nine vacancies).

Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor candidates nominate as a pair. Councillor candidates may register groups and group voting tickets. Candidates may only nominate for either the Leadership Team election (one of the two positions) or the Councillor election – not both.

Leadership Team name registration and councillor group registration closes at 12 noon on Thursday 24 September.

Councillor group voting ticket registration closes at 12 noon on Monday 28 September 2020.

For detailed information on the nomination rules and process, refer to the Melbourne City Council candidate handbook (PDF) | (Word)

Who has nominated?

You can find candidates on each council's election page. 

Find your council election

Candidate statement and questionnaire

To give voters information about your background, qualifications and what you stand for, you may also provide the following:

  • candidate statement – a statement of up to 300 words* and a photo
  • candidate questionnaire – responses to questions about your experience and qualifications.

The Candidate Helper will be available online where you may complete candidate questionnaires and statements.

* Melbourne City Council Leadership Team candidates and Councillor grouped candidates may submit a statement of up to 350 words. Ungrouped Councillor candidates may submit a statement of up to 300 words.

Please note: the Local Government Victoria (LGV) mandatory training reference number cannot be used to access any Candidate Helper forms.

Access Candidate Helper

View a Candidate Helper video tutorial

Candidate questionnaires, statements and photo submissions close at 12 noon on Wednesday 23 September 2020.

Melbourne City Council questionnaires, statements and photo submissions close at 12 noon on Monday 28 September 2020.

Who can be a candidate?

To be a candidate for a local council election, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen or an eligible British subject referred to in section 48(1)(a) of the Constitution Act 1975
  • be aged 18 years of age
  • be enrolled on the voters' roll for the council in which you wish to stand
  • have completed the mandatory Local Government Candidate Training
  • not be disqualified from being a councillor.

You cannot be a candidate for any of the following reasons:

  • you are an undischarged bankrupt
  • you have property that is subject to control under the law relating to bankruptcy
  • you are a member of council staff of the council. You can take leave from this role in order to nominate
  • you have been convicted of any of the criminal offences referred to in section 34(2) of the Act
  • you are a councillor with another council, including interstate councils
  • you are member of an Australian Parliament, including the Federal Parliament or a Member of Parliament in any state or territory of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • you are employed by a Federal or State Member of Parliament as a Ministerial Officer, a Parliamentary Adviser or an Electorate Officer. You can take leave from these roles in order to nominate
    or
  • you are otherwise incapable of becoming or continuing to be a councillor.

Further details are outlined in the Local Government Act 2020

Do candidates need to live in the area?

To become a candidate, you must be enrolled for the council in which you wish to stand.

If the council has wards, you can be a candidate for any ward in the council.

Find out more about enrolling in local council elections

Can candidates have a copy of the roll?

Following the close of nominations, you may request a free electronic copy of the roll for the election you are contesting to assist with campaigning.

We do not provide:

  • email addresses
  • phone numbers
  • details of silent electors.

You must declare that you will only use roll data for campaigning. You must also destroy or return copies of the roll within 30 days of the election day. Penalties apply for misusing roll information or failing to destroy or return roll information as required.

Funding and donations

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

Within 40 days after election day, you must complete and submit an election donation return to the Chief Executive Officer of the council in which you nominated. The election donation return must either disclose gifts you receive in the lead up to an election or provide a statement that no gifts were received.

For more information, visit the Local Government Inspectorate’s website: Election Campaign Donation Returns - Guidance material.

Please note that donation disclosure requirements for local council elections are different from those that apply to candidates at State elections.

What if there aren't enough candidates in an election?

If the number of candidates in an election is the same as the number of vacancies, those candidates are elected without the need for a vote. This is called being elected unopposed, or an uncontested election.

If there are fewer candidates than vacancies, the candidates who nominated are declared elected. A by-election is held at a future date to fill the remaining vacancies.

If nobody nominates as a candidate, no voting takes place and another election is held as soon as possible.  

The ballot draw

The position of each candidate on the ballot paper is determined by a single computerised random draw for each council after nominations close. 

The exception is Melbourne City Council, where the Leadership Team ballot is determined by a single randomised draw, and the councillors ballot is randomly drawn in two parts: 

  • the order of the groups above the line
  • the order of the ungrouped candidates.

The computerised draw software has been independently audited and certified, determining that the draw is completely random. View the software component that generates the random order for the ballot.

Safe campaigning guidelines

Local Government Victoria have published Safe Campaign Guidelines for the 2020 local council elections.

The guidelines will help candidates understand how to comply with the directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer to stay safe while campaigning. They include advice on permitted campaign activities, safety for campaign teams, basic hygiene and physical distancing.

Local Government Victoria will continually update these guidelines with the latest directions and restrictions. Make sure to visit the Local Government Victoria website for the latest information.

Read the Safe Campaign Guidelines on the Local Government Victoria website