NSW Local Government elections will go ahead as planned on Saturday 4 September, with pre-poll, iVote and postal voting expanded to allow greater flexibility and safety for voters during the current COVID-19 situation.
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 will open from 27 July to 30 August. The deadline for the receipt of postal votes has been extended to 6 pm on 17 September, pushing out the date for the declaration of the poll until as late as 6 pm on Thursday 23 September.
However, electors are encouraged to return their postal votes as soon as possible.
General Manager Adrian 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.
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 26 July and closing strictly at 12 noon on Wednesday 4 August.
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.