LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS: NEW RULES

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The NSW Electoral Commissioner has issued updated regulations governing the conduct of the coming Local Government elections on 4 December 2021.

In summary to reduce the risk of COVID infection polling booth workers, handing out how to votes, putting up signs and campaigning within 100 metres of a polling booth including prepoll is banned.

The details of the regulation are below. In response to similar prohibitions in the ACT and overseas volunteers often campaign in nearby shopping areas obviously observing COVID safety requirements. 

Pursuant to section 296(2) of the Local Government Act 1993 and section 275(1) of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 (the Regulation), the Electoral Commissioner is election manager of the local government elections of the councils listed in the Annexure to this Direction.

Section 356TB(1) of the Regulation provides that the election manager may direct that a person must not hand out tangible electoral material in or on:

(a) a polling place or pre-polling office; or
(b) relevant premises within 100 metres of -

(i) a polling place, or
(ii) a pre-polling office.

Pursuant to section 356TB(7) of the Regulation, electoral material includes a how-to-vote card, poster or advertisement, containing an express or implicit reference to or comment on:
(a) an election;
(b) any council or any previous council;
(c) any councillor or previous councillor;
(d) the Government, the Opposition, a previous Government or a previous Opposition, of this or any other State or Territory or of the Commonwealth;
(e) a member or former member of the Parliament of this or any other State or Territory or of the Commonwealth;
(f) a political party, a branch or division of a political party or a candidate in an election; or
(g) an issue submitted to, or otherwise before, the electors in connection with an election.

Pursuant to section 356TB(8) of the Regulation, relevant premises are premises occupied or used by, or under the control or management of:
(a) the Crown;
(b) a NSW agency; or
(c) a council, county council or joint organisation.

Therefore, to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 where the material would be handed out, I direct that, in respect of any of the elections of the councils listed in the Annexure to this Direction, a person must not, on a day during the election period on which voting will be occurring, hand out tangible electoral material in or on:
(a) a polling place or pre-polling office; or
(b) relevant premises within 100 metres of -

(i) a polling place, or
(ii) a pre-polling office.

For more information on these changes, please click here.