Enrolling for local council elections

Types of enrolment

In a council election there are two types of enrolment:

  1. state-enrolled
  2. council-enrolled.

You have one vote per council. If you are a state-enrolled voter, that is the enrolment you use to vote.

State-enrolled voters

You must enrol and vote if you:

  • are 18 years or older
  • are an Australian citizen
  • have lived at your address for longer than one month.
  • Example of state enrolment
    Maria was born in Australia to Australian parents and has lived in Council A all her life. She turned 18 in 2021 and enrolled to vote. Maria must vote in any local council elections and by-elections for Council A, just as she would in any state or federal elections.
  • What has changed

    Nothing has changed for state-enrolled voters.

  • How to enrol

    You can enrol, check or update your enrolment online:

  • Council-enrolled voters

    Council-enrolled voters include ratepayers who are property owners, occupiers or corporations.

    You can apply to become a council-enrolled voter directly with your council if you are:

    • 18 years or older
    • a property owner, occupier or represent a corporation
    • not a state-enrolled voter within the council area.

    Once you are on the council roll, you must vote. If you don’t vote, you may get a fine. You will not be fined if you choose not to become a council-enrolled voter.

    Different rules apply for Melbourne, Casey and Whittlesea City Councils. Moira Shire Council will not have elections until 2028.

    The rules for council-enrolled voters have changed, so it's a good idea to read this carefully. The different enrolment categories are explained below.

    Owner ratepayers

    You can apply to enrol directly with your local council if you:

    • own property and pay rates in the council area
    • are 18 or over
    • are not already a state-enrolled voter who lives in that council.

    If you meet these criteria, you can contact your council to apply to enrol.

    Once you are enrolled, you will stay enrolled and you must vote in all local council elections, including by-elections for that council. If you don't vote, you may get a fine.

    If you don't want to vote for that property anymore, you can apply to council to take you off the council roll. If you sell your property, your council enrolment will automatically become invalid.

    A maximum of 2 owners can apply to enrol for any one property.

  • Example of owner ratepayers
    • Nick has worked hard as a brickie from 1960 and now that he's retired, owns 2 houses in Council A (one to rent out and one to live in) and an apartment in Council B, which he rents out. Nick must vote for the address he lives at in Council A, as he would for state or federal elections. Nick doesn’t get a second vote for the house he rents out in Council A, but he can apply to enrol for Council B because he is the owner and he pays the rates for the apartment. If Nick chooses to enrol, he must vote in all Council B elections.
    • Aaron, Bethany, Chris and Declan are siblings who inherited a beach house in Council E when their mother passed away. Although all 4 are joint owners and are listed on the rates notice, Council E can only enrol 2 owners. Chris and Declan applied to council to enrol on 25 July, and their applications were accepted. Bethany feels a very close connection to the area after spending many summers there as a child, so she submitted an application on 1 August. Council E rejected Bethany’s application as there were already 2 owners enrolled to vote for the property. Bethany asked Declan to resign his enrolment so she could vote instead. Declan agreed, and filled in a council form to resign his enrolment. After council accepted Declan’s resignation, Bethany was able to apply to enrol.
    • Raj and Lakshmi moved from India to Australia in 2022 and bought a fixer-upper in Council B, for which they pay rates. Although they love Australia, they don’t yet qualify for citizenship. They have 2 children and care deeply about their community, so they applied to enrol for Council B, and their applications were accepted. Raj and Lakshmi must vote in any election or by-election for Council B, but they cannot vote in state or federal elections until they become Australian citizens and enrol.
    • Ali lives in Council A. They own investment properties in Council B, Council C, and Council D. They have sent enrolment applications to the 3 councils they own investment properties in, so they can have a say in these communities. In October 2024 they will receive 4 ballot packs – one for their state enrolment (Council A), plus 3 for their 3 council enrolments (Councils B, C, and D). Ali must complete and return all 4 ballot packs or risk receiving a fine in each council they did not vote in.
  • What has changed

    In previous elections:

    • property owners who didn’t live in the area would be automatically enrolled – now you must apply if you want to vote in the 2024 and future local council elections and by-elections
    • it was not compulsory to vote – now you must vote if you are on the roll or you may get a fine.
  • How to enrol

    Contact your council to enrol or check if you are on the roll in this category.

    Find council contact details

  • Occupier ratepayers

    You can apply to enrol directly with your local council if you:

    • pay rates for a property that you occupy but do not own
    • are 18 or older
    • are not a state-enrolled voter.

    General elections

    If you meet these criteria, you can contact your council to apply to enrol. Once you are enrolled, you must vote for the October 2024 elections and onwards. If you don’t vote, you may get a fine.

    Your enrolment expires before the next local council general election. If you want to continue to vote, you must apply to enrol again before the next local council general election. Your council will send you an invitation when it is time to renew your enrolment.

    A maximum of 2 occupiers can apply to enrol for any one property.

    You can resign your enrolment by contacting your council.

    By-elections

    If you apply to enrol for the local council elections in 2024, you will remain enrolled for any council by-elections up until 2028. It will be compulsory for you to vote.

  • Example of an occupier ratepayer

    Gillian and Thibaut rent an old milk bar across the road from a train station in Council D, which they converted into a French bakery. Business is going great, as their croissants and coffee are a hit with morning commuters. Gillian and Thibaut’s lease requires them to pay the rates for the property. They apply to enrol for Council D as occupiers so they could have a say on issues such as street lighting and car parking around their business. Once enrolled, Gillian and Thibaut must vote at the 2024 local council general election and for any by-elections in Council D after 2024.

  • What has changed

    In previous local council general elections it was not compulsory to vote – now you must vote if you are on the roll or you may get a fine for the 2024 local council general elections and for by-elections after this.

  • How to enrol

    Contact your council to enrol or check if you are on the roll in this category.

    Find council contact details

  • Corporations

    You can apply to enrol to vote on behalf of a corporation if you:

    • are a director or company secretary of a corporation that pays rates (either as an owner or an occupier) in the council area
    • have consented to being appointed as the corporation’s representative
    • are not already a state-enrolled voter or council-enrolled voter for the same council.

    General elections

    If you meet these criteria, you can apply to your council to be appointed as a representative or your corporation.

    Once you are enrolled, you must vote for the October 2024 elections and onwards. If you don’t vote, you may get a fine.

    Your enrolment will expire before the next local council general election. If you want to continue to vote, you must apply to enrol again. Your council will send you an invitation when it is time to renew your enrolment.

    A corporation can only appoint one person to represent it at an election, regardless of how many properties the corporation owns or occupies in the council area.

    You can be removed from the roll if you resign your enrolment or the corporation revokes you appointment.

    By-elections

    If you apply to enrol for the local council elections in 2024, you will remain enrolled for any council by-elections up until 2028. It will be compulsory for you to vote.

  • Example of a corporation

    Benita is the company secretary of Widget Corp. At its most recent quarterly board meeting, it was unanimously agreed that she should be appointed to represent Widget Corp’s business interests and vote in Council D elections. Benita agreed and applied to Council D. As she is a state-enrolled voter for Council E and is not a representative for another corporation in Council D, the council accepted her application to vote for Widget Corp.

    Council D would have to revoke Benita’s appointment if she moves and becomes a state-enrolled voter for Council D, becomes eligible to be a council-enrolled voter for Council D or ceases to be the company secretary or a director. Benita can resign her appointment.

  • What has changed
    In previous local council general elections it was not compulsory for corporate representatives to vote – now you must vote if you are enrolled or you may get a fine for the 2024 local council general elections and for by-elections after this.
  • How to enrol

    Contact your council to enrol or check if you are on the roll in this category.

    Find council contact details

  • Melbourne City Council

    If you are a state-enrolled voter, you must vote as you would for state or federal elections.

    There are multiple types of council enrolment for Melbourne City Council.

    You can apply to enrol directly with Melbourne City Council if you:

    • own or occupy a property you pay rates on in Melbourne City Council, including if you are not an Australian citizen. This includes anyone who rents a home or business space.
    • own and pay rates on a property in Melbourne City Council, but live overseas
    • are a director or company secretary of a company that owns or pays rates on a property in Melbourne City Council.

    You will be automatically enrolled if you:

    • own a property that you pay rates on in Melbourne City Council, but live in another Victorian council or another Australian state or territory
    • are a director or company secretary of a company that owns or pays rates on a property in Melbourne City Council who did not apply to enrol.

    A maximum of 2 owners and 2 occupiers can be council-enrolled for any one property. 

    If you are a council-enrolled voter, are unsure if you are a council enrolled voter, or would like to become a council enrolled voter, follow the guidance on the City of Melbourne website.

    Find more enrolment information on the Melbourne City Council website.

  • What has changed

    There has been no change to who is required to or can enrol to vote in Melbourne City Council elections.

  • How to enrol

    If you are a council-enrolled voter, contact Melbourne City Council.

  • Casey and Whittlesea City Councils

    If you are a state-enrolled voter, you must vote as you would for state or federal elections.

    You will be already enrolled as a council-enrolled voter if you:

    • were automatically enrolled at the 2016 election because you owned property but did not live in the council area
    • your circumstances haven’t changed.

    If this doesn't apply to you, you can follow the new rules and apply to enrol with your council.

    If you are enrolled as a state-enrolled voter or a council-enrolled voter, you must vote.

  • Examples for Whittlesea and Casey councils
    • Minh grew up in Frankston and has been a state-enrolled voter for Frankston City Council since 1990. In 2014, he bought an investment property in Cranbourne, which he still rents out. In 2016 he received 2 ballot packs: one for Frankston City Council, and one for Casey City Council, where he was automatically enrolled as a non-resident owner. He didn’t vote for Casey City Council in 2016 because it was not compulsory. In the 2020 local council general election, no election was held for Casey so he didn’t receive a ballot pack for that council. As his circumstances haven’t changed since 2016, for the 2024 local council general election Minh will receive 2 ballot packs again, but this time he must vote in both elections or risk getting a fine.
    • Silvana lived in Mill Park, in Whittlesea City Council, until she moved into a retirement village in Preston, in Darebin City Council. She kept her old family home as an investment to give to her grandchildren one day. At the 2016 local council general election, she received 2 ballot packs: one for Darebin City Council and one for Whittlesea City Council. In 2018, she subdivided the Mill Park property so her son could build a house and live there, but kept the other half as an investment. At the 2024 council elections, Silvana will receive a ballot pack for Darebin City Council. However, as her circumstances have changed for Whittlesea City Council since 2016, she must apply to enrol for that council election if she would like to vote for the investment property.
    • Margaret lives in St Kilda, in Port Phillip City Council. She bought a house in Clyde North, in Casey City Council, in 2019 to add to her investment portfolio of 4 properties. At the 2020 local council general elections, she received a ballot pack for Port Phillip City Council, plus 3 other councils where she owned properties and was automatically enrolled. She did not receive a ballot pack for Casey City Council because there was no election that year. In 2024, she will receive a ballot pack for the Port Phillip City Council election, where she is on the state roll. If she wants to vote for councils where she has investment properties, she will need to apply to enrol with each relevant council, including Casey City Council.
     
  • What has changed

    In previous local council elections it was not compulsory for council-enrolled voters to vote – now you must vote if you are on the roll or you may get a fine. If your circumstances have changed since 2016, you may need to apply to enrol.

  • How to enrol

    If you are a state-enrolled voter, you can check, update or enrol online.

    If you are a council-enrolled voter, contact your council.

    Find council contact details

  • Council election candidates

    If you are on the council roll you can nominate as a candidate for that council. If the council has wards, you can be a candidate for any ward in the council.

    You can only nominate in one council or ward.

  • Examples of council-enrolled nominations
    • Sarah lives in Council A. In 2023 she purchased an apartment in Ward 1 of Council B that she rents out to tenants. Sarah wants to nominate for election in Ward 1 of Council B. She contacts Council B in April to be added to the council’s voters list and is successfully enrolled. She nominates to be a candidate for the October local council elections in Council B. She cannot nominate for Council A at the same time. Sarah is enrolled as an owner ratepayer in Council B.
    • Thuy lives in Council B and rents a shopfront in Council C that she runs a clothing store from. Thuy's lease requires her to pay rates to the council. Thuy has also been a councillor in Council C for the past 3 years. She wants to nominate for election again. Thuy must contact Council C to re-enrol. Thuy is re-enrolled with Council C as an occupier ratepayer.
    • Reggie is the director of a company, Peach Industry Enterprises, that owns the building it operates out of in Council D. The company’s board has some ideas about how things in Council D could be improved for the local business community. The board decides that Reggie is the best person to be enrolled on behalf of the company. Reggie calls Council D to ask about council enrolment. Council D sends him the application form to become a corporate representative. However, Reggie lives in Council D, so he is on the state roll for this council already. A person can only be enrolled once for a council, so his application to be the corporate representative is denied. The board looks for another person to be its representative. Charlie, the company secretary, does not live in Council D. Charlie fills in the form, and is enrolled as the corporate representative in Council D for Peach Industry Enterprises. Charlie then nominates to be a councillor in October 2024.
  • What has changed

    Voters who were previously on the council roll will need to re-enrol to nominate in that council. If you meet the council enrolment criteria, contact the council directly to apply.

    Voting is now compulsory for everyone on the council roll, including enrolled owner ratepayers, occupier ratepayers, and corporate representatives. If you do not vote in all councils you are enrolled in, you may get a fine.

    Whittlesea and Casey City councils have different rules for the October 2024 local council elections. You should contact these councils directly for more information about nominating as a council-enrolled voter. Moira Shire Council's next election is in October 2028.

    Even if you are on the council roll, all other council nomination requirements still apply. Read more about these eligibility requirements on the Becoming a local council candidate page

  • How to enrol

    Contact your council to enrol or check if you are on the roll in this category.

    Find council contact details

  • Moira Shire Council

    Moira Shire Council was dismissed by an Act of Parliament in March 2023. The next election will be held in October 2028.

    Information for councils

    Please refer to Local Government Victoria’s information and resources on the 2024 local council elections.