24 October 2021

Time running out to register to vote in local council elections

| Kim Treasure
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NSW council elections

If you own property outside the ACT, you can register to vote in the NSW council elections. Photo: File.

ACT residents who own property in NSW are being reminded that time is running out to register to vote in the 4 December local government elections.

Thousands of Canberrans split their lives between the nation’s capital and the South Coast, and some might not be aware they have the right to vote in the upcoming elections.

In the Eurobodalla alone, 37 per cent of ratepayers are non-resident and fewer than 10 per cent exercised their right to vote in the 2016 local government election.

Registration to vote closes on 25 October.

A Better Eurobodalla (ABE) spokesperson Dr Brett Stevenson has been urging non-residents to become involved in local government.

“One of the best ways of making sure our local council is accountable and effective is to ensure that it represents the full spectrum of the Eurobodalla community,” he said.

ABE is a non-aligned grassroots community forum dedicated to achieving open, accountable and responsive local government. One of ABE’s interests is improving non-resident ratepayer participation in local government elections.

“ABE is keen to encourage all eligible voters to participate in the 2021 election to give us the best prospects for open, accountable and responsive local government,” Dr Stevenson said.

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“This is particularly important as we deal with bushfire recovery activities, planning and creating a more resilient future and adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Local government elections in NSW are normally held every four years but they have twice been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time, Labor is standing a team of candidates in the Eurobodalla elections.

“We are excited about the support we are already getting on the ground – from Batemans Bay to Batehaven, Mogo to Tuross Heads, Broulee to Moruya, Bodalla to Potato Point, Narooma to Mystery Bay and Tilba, all the way to Akolele and everywhere in-between,” Labor mayoral candidate David Grace said.

“We know there are many Canberra/ACT-based Eurobodalla Shire part-time residents who may be entitled to vote if they own, occupy or lease property in Eurobodalla.

“It’s important for any out-of-town ratepayers who own, occupy or lease property in Eurobodalla to get registered so they can vote either by post or at the ballot box.”

People are eligible to vote in a council area if they own rateable land in area, or are an occupier or rate-paying lessee of rateable land in the ward or council area.

Non-residential rolls are prepared and certified by each council’s general manager and the NSW Electoral Commissioner must confirm that the voters listed are eligible for enrolment on the non-residential roll.

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Residents are responsible for checking their eligibility on the non-residential roll for a council or ward when they make an application. The NSW Electoral Commission recommends residents get independent advice if unsure about whether they are eligible.

You can apply to be included on the non-residential roll of another ward or council area by contacting the local council office or visiting their website.

Eligible corporations can also enrol to vote on the non-residential roll for a ward or council area. A corporation is entitled to nominate a person to appear on the roll on behalf of the corporation.

Non-resident ratepayers are eligible to one vote per household. The first step is to make sure you are on the electoral roll.

There is only one electoral roll which is used for federal, state and local government elections.

To enrol or check whether you are enrolled, visit the AEC’s Enrol to Vote or Check My Enrolment websites, then register your intention to vote with your local council:

You should then contact the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) for a postal vote. If you have applied for a postal vote, the NSWEC will issue you with ballot papers once candidate nominations close.

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