NSW local government elections will go ahead as planned on Saturday, September 4, with postal voting applications opening next Tuesday, July 27 and nominations for candidates opening on Monday, July 26..
Pre-poll, iVote and postal voting will be expanded to allow greater flexibility and safety for voters during the current COVID-19 situation, Mid Coast Council general manager Adrian Panuccio has advised.
Administered by the NSW Electoral Commission on behalf of MidCoast Council, any person who is enrolled to vote may vote by pre-poll for the 2021 election.
iVote will also be available and operate in the same way it does for State elections.
Additionally, the existing eligibility criteria for those able to use postal voting has been expanded to include:
- permanent or temporary residents in a hospital, nursing home, retirement village or similar facility
- anyone self-isolating because of COVID-19 related reasons
- anyone who reasonably believes attending a polling place on election day will pose a risk to their health or safety of themselves or those around them, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applications for postal voting are open from July 27 to August 30. The deadline for the receipt of postal votes has been extended to 6 pm on September 17, pushing out the date for the declaration of the poll until as late as 6pm on Thursday, September 23.
An extensive COVID-Safe plan has been put in place by the NSW Electoral Commission to ensure the election is undertaken in as risk-free a setting as possibleMidCoast Council GM Adrian Panuccio
However, electors are encouraged to return their postal votes as soon as possible.
Mr Panuccio said council was working closely with the NSW Electoral Commission to ensure the delivery of a COVID-Safe election.
"An extensive COVID-Safe plan has been put in place by the NSW Electoral Commission to ensure the election is undertaken in as risk-free a setting as possible."
Mr Panuccio said these measures include the requirement of Service NSW QR codes, larger voting venues to accommodate physical distancing, hand sanitiser dispensers and increased cleansing of screens and general areas. Single use pens will also be handed out for those who forget to bring their own pens.
Meanwhile, registration for candidates is currently open. Registered candidates must also nominate to have their name included on the ballot paper, with nominations opening on Monday, July 26 and closing strictly at noon on Wednesday, August 4.
The NSW Office of Local Government is encouraging people from all walks of life to stand for their community to increase diversity in local government.
The Stand for Your Community - Diversity Counts campaign is targeting women, younger people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents, and members of multicultural communities. To find out more, visit www.olg.nsw.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Stand-for-your-community-Candidate-Guide.pdf
There are 11 councillor positions at MidCoast Council, with those elected to serve a reduced three-year term after the 2020 election was postponed by 12 months due to COVID-19.
The future schedule of council elections will not be impacted by this change, and the subsequent election will still proceed in September 2024.
Residents not yet enrolled to vote have been reminded the electoral roll and non-residential roll closes at 6pm on Monday, July 26.
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