2020 Council Elections

Council elections are held every four years. The next election will be held on 24 October 2020. This page has information on the election process, how to vote, and how to register as a candidate.

The conduct of Council elections is regulated by the Local Government Act and the Local Government (Electoral) Regulations. The day-to-day management of the election process is undertaken by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).

When are Council Elections held?
All Council elections are held every four years on the fourth Saturday in October. Victorian State and Local Government election dates are both fixed term but are scheduled to occur two years apart from each other. The next Council election will be held on 24 October 2020.
 
Who runs Council Elections?
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is the statutory provider for all Council elections. The Returning Officer will be the Electoral Commissioner or his or her appointee.
 
Entitlement Date
To be eligible to vote at a Council election, people must be on the State or Council voters’ roll 57 days before election day. This is called the ‘entitlement date’. Entitlement date for Darebin City Council’s elections is 4.00pm on Friday 28 August 2020.
 
Close of Nominations
Candidates must submit their nominations in person to the Returning Officer before the close of nominations. Nominations close 32 days before the election day. Close of Nominations for Darebin City Council’s elections is 12 noon on Tuesday 22 September 2020.
 
Close of Voting
Darebin City Council elections are undertaken by postal voting. In postal elections, ballot papers must be completed and posted to the Returning Officer no later than the last working day before election day. Postal votes for Darebin City Council’s elections must be returned by 6.00pm on Friday 23 October 2020.
 
Key election dates are publicised in the lead-up to an election, enabling people to participate fully in the process. The Returning Officer, who will run Darebin City Council’s election, is also able to provide more detail of the election timeline.
 
How Votes are Counted
Two methods of counting votes are used in Council elections, depending on whether or not the election is for a single-member ward. As Darebin City Council will be changing to single member wards, the method of counting votes will be the Preferential Voting system.
 
Preferential Voting
This is similar to the system of vote counting used for single member electorates in the State Legislative Assembly and the Federal House of Representatives.
  • All valid first preference votes are counted and sorted to determine the number of first preferences for each candidate.
  • Where one candidate has an absolute majority (50% plus one of all valid votes) that candidate is declared elected.
  • If no candidate has an absolute majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are re-allocated according to their second preferences.
  • This process is repeated until one candidate obtains an absolute majority and is declared elected.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has more information about counting of votes.
 
Declaration of Election Results
The Returning Officer will publicly declare results after the votes have been counted and scrutineers have had time to examine the record of the count. The declaration of the election may be delayed if the Returning Officer decides to conduct a recount.
 
Election Period and 'caretaker' arrangements
The ‘election period’ is defined in the Local Government Act as the period between the last day of nominations and the election day. This is a 32-day period in Victorian Local Government elections. The aim is to avoid the use of public resources in a way that may unduly affect the election result and to minimise Councils making certain types of decisions that may unduly limit the decision-making ability of the incoming Council.
 
Darebin City Council may not make the following types of decisions, either directly or by delegation, during an election period:
  • Decisions relating to the employment or remuneration of the Chief Executive Officer, other than a decision to appoint an acting CEO, or a decision to terminate the appointment of he CEO.
  • Commit the Council to expenditure exceeding one percent of the Council’s income from general rates, municipal charges and service rates and charges in the preceding financial year; or
  • Matters the Council considers could be reasonably deferred until the next Council is in place; or
  • Matters the Council considers should not be made during an election period.
An exception can apply if Darebin City Council seeks and obtains an exemption from the Minister for Local Government.
 
Councils may voluntarily place additional limits on their decision making during an election period to ensure they are not unduly committing an incoming Council.  These limits are often described in the Council’s Election Period policy. Click here to view the Election Period Policy 2020.
 
Publication of Electoral Matter

The Local Government Act prohibits Councils from printing, publishing and distributing material that is electoral matter during an election period. Electoral matter is broadly defined as ‘matter that is intended or likely to affect voting in an election’. This limitation does not apply to electoral material that is only about the election process.
 
 
 
Darebin City Council’s Election Period policy states that the Chief Executive Officer must certify all Council publications during the election period to ensure they do not contain electoral matter.
 
 
 
Documents published before the election period commences (but still available after commencement, for example on the Council’s website) do not require certification and are not caught by the prohibition. Statutory documents permitted under legislation (such as rate notices, food premises registrations and parking fines) may continue to be disseminated by Council during the election period without limitation.
 
 
 
Council has adopted an ‘Electoral Advertising Signage and Electioneering Policy’ to provide direction on the placement of electoral advertising signs on any Council land, municipal building or road; and the requirements for candidates or their supporters electioneering in public places. Click here to view the Electoral Advertising Signage and Electioneering Policy.

 

Replacement of a Councillor
Occasionally, a position on Council becomes vacant between general elections. This can occur if a Councillor dies or resigns, or if a Councillor ceases to be eligible to hold office.
 
If a Councillor elected at the 2020 election leaves office during their term, they will be replaced in a by-election. A by-election must be held within 100 days of the vacancy occurring but is not required if the vacancy occurs in the last 3 months before a general election is scheduled. In a by-election, a complete election is conducted for the ward. This involves a new nomination process and voters casting votes in the same way as in a general election.
 
Electoral Representation and Ward Boundary Reviews
Electoral structures and boundaries for Councils need to be regularly reviewed to ensure that representation continues to be democratic and appropriate. This is particularly important in rapidly developing regions.
 
The Local Government Act sets out the process for establishing an Electoral Representation Advisory Panel to conduct reviews and advises the Minister in relation to the electoral structure of the Council.
 
If the number of voters per Councillor in one or more wards varies from the average number of voters per Councillor in any other ward by more than 10 percent by the time of the next general election is to be held, the VEC will conduct a review of the boundaries of the wards and provide a report to the Minister containing recommendations about ward boundary changes.
 

If you are an Australian citizen aged 18 or over at the time of an election, you must enrol to vote.

Am I enrolled to vote? 
If you are an Australian citizen, you can check your State enrolment details on the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) website.
 
You are already enrolled to vote for City of Darebin elections if you meet the following three criteria:
  • You will be 18 years of age or over on 24 October 2020.
  • You live in the City of Darebin.
  • You are on the State electoral roll for your current address.
You will need to enrol if:
  • You are an Australian citizen aged 18; and
  • You are not on the State electoral roll; or
  • You have moved to a new residential address and have not updated your enrolment details, including changes to your postal address.
How do I enrol or update my enrolment details?
Contact the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) to enrol or update your details. This can be done by visiting the VEC website at vec.vic.gov.au or calling 13 18 32 for general enquiries.
 
To be eligible to vote at a Council election, you must be on the State or local Council voters’ roll on the ‘entitlement date’. The entitlement date for Darebin City Council’s 2020 elections is 4.00pm on Friday 28 August 2020.
 

The next general elections for Darebin City Council will be held on Saturday 24 October 2020. A person may nominate as a candidate for an election for any ward of the Darebin City Council if they are qualified to be a Councillor under the Local Government Act.

Qualification to be a Councillor 
To nominate for election as a Councillor, a person:
  • must be an Australian citizen.
  • must be at least 18 years of age on the election day.
  • must be enrolled as a voter in the municipal district in which they are standing.
Non-Qualification to be a Councillor
A person may not nominate as a candidate for a Council election they are:
  • an undischarged bankrupt.
  • of unsound mind.
  • a member of Council staff who has not taken leave to stand.
  • convicted of certain criminal or electoral offences.
  • banned from being a Company Director.
  • a Councillor in another Australian Council
  • a member of the Parliament of an Australian State or Territory or the Commonwealth.
  • employed by the Parliament of a State or Territory or the Commonwealth as a Ministerial Officer, Parliamentary Advisor or Electorate Officer – who has not taken leave to stand.
A person may not nominate for election to a Council if they ceased to be a Councillor of that Council in the preceding four years for:
  • failing to take the oath of office.
  • being absent for four consecutive Ordinary Council Meetings without leave.
  • failing to attend a call of the Council without a sufficient excuse.
  • having been disqualified after a finding of gross misconduct, which has not yet expired.
If you are considering candidature for Darebin City Council’s 2020 election and are unsure of your eligibility, you should seek advice from the Returning Officer. The Returning will be appointed by the Victorian Electoral Commission and establish their temporary office in August 2020. Enquiries about eligibility prior to this time may initially be directed to Council’s Coordinator Governance, Council Business and Civic Services on 8470 8582.
 
Do I need to live in the area?
Candidates must be on Darebin City Council’s voters roll. Candidates can stand for election for any ward within Darebin City Council, even if their enrolled address is in a different ward within the Council.
 
Can I have a copy of the electoral roll?
Candidates will be provided with an electronic copy of Darebin City Council’s electoral roll for the election they are contesting, free of charge. This file can be printed if required and will be in a format suitable for looking up names and mail-merging letters.
 
In gaining access to Darebin City Council’s electronic roll, candidates must declare their use of the data is solely for campaign purposes in relation to their election. All copies of the roll provided to candidates must be destroyed after the declaration of result for the election or return the copy of the voters’ roll and any copies made from it to the VEC within 30 days after election day. For the upcoming election, this date will be 24 November 2020.
 
How-to-Vote Cards
All How-to-Vote Cards must be registered with the VEC. Any member of the public, candidate or organisation can register a How-to-Vote Card.
 
Am I entitled to public funding?
There is no public funding for candidates in local Council elections.
 
What happens at an Uncontested Election?
If, at the close of nominations, there are only enough nominations to fill the number of vacancies advertised, the Returning Officer must declare the nominated candidates elected and give notice of the declaration.
 

Candidates will have access to assistance and training through the Victorian Electoral Commission and Victorian Local Governance Association.

Who can stand as a Candidate in Darebin City Council’s Election?
To nominate for election as a Councillor at Darebin City Council, a person must meet the Qualification to be a Councillor requirements as identified in the “Becoming A Council Election Candidate” section of this webpage.
 
Information and Assistance for Candidates
Information and assistance are available in a number of forms prior to and during Darebin City Council’s election.
 
Prior to the election, the Victorian Electoral Commission usually holds information sessions for prospective candidates.  These sessions provide information about the process and enable potential candidates to meet the Returning Officer appointed to run the election. Details of information sessions will be made available from the Victorian Electoral Commission or Council shortly.
 
The Victorian Electoral Commission also provides a comprehensive Candidate Information Kit that describes the election process and timelines.  The kit also explains the requirements of becoming a candidate and includes forms to be completed by candidates.
  
The VEC website contains information about Council Elections, including candidates’ handbooks, which detail the requirements of being a candidate. These should be available about 3 months prior to Darebin City Council’s elections.
 
Key Election Dates
Candidates for Council elections must adhere to certain key dates and conditions.
  • Entitlement Date
    To stand as a candidate a person needs to be an eligible voter in the City of Darebin.  Entitlement date (57 days before election day) is important for a candidate because it’s the last chance a person has to be correctly enrolled to vote.

  • Notice of Election
    The Returning Officer must give public notice of the election and call for nominations to fill the vacant positions not less than 40 days or more than 60 days before Darebin City Council’s elections.

  • Close of Nominations
    Candidates must be nominated by 12 noon on the day that is 32 days before the election day. For the upcoming election period, the close of nominations is 12 noon, Tuesday 22 September 2020.

  • Close of Voting
    The election day is the last Saturday in October – 24 October 2020. Darebin City Council’s method of voting is postal voting. Ballot papers must be posted by 6.00pm on the day before the election day (23 October 2020).

  • Declaration of the Poll
    The Returning Officer will publicly declare results after the votes have been counted and scrutineers have had time to examine the record of the count. The declaration of the election may be delayed if the Returning Officer decides to conduct a recount
Campaign Donations
Within 40 days of election day, all candidates must submit to Council’s Chief Executive Officer an Election Campaign Donation Return. This will provide details of any gifts, goods or services worth $500 or more, received during the donation period for use in connection with their election campaign. This applies to all candidates, whether elected or not, and whether they received campaign donations or not.
 
The ‘donation period’ is defined as the period beginning 30 days after election day in the previous election and ending 30 days after election day in the current election.
 
Copies of Election Donation Return forms will be included in Candidate Information Kits and available from Darebin City Council.
 
Within 14 days after the deadline for lodgement of completed Campaign Donation Returns by candidates, summaries of each return lodged will be made available on the Darebin City Council’s website for a period up until the entitlement date for the next general election in 2024. Completed Campaign Donation Returns are also available for public inspection at the Council’s offices for four years after the election.
 
Mandatory Candidate Training
It is important that anyone who wishes to run as a candidate in an election is aware of the requirement to undertake mandatory candidate training.
 
The Local Government Act has a requirement for Mandatory Candidate Training. Section 256 (7) of the Act states that a person cannot nominate as a candidate for an election as a Councillor unless the person has completed the prescribed training. Completed candidate training will remain valid through the general election and any by-election.
Candidates will be able to attend any candidate training session in any location and will need to make a declaration of participation to the Victorian Electoral Commission.