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A history sepia toned image with a woman holding a lottery ticket in front of a tumbling lottery machine.

This is because under the current ‘first-past-the-post’ system you just put a tick in a box next to one candidate, and if your candidate gets the most votes, they win. Sounds good — but when you think about it — is this really the best outcome for the community if you can win with less than 5% of the electors?

Under the new optional preferential voting system (OPV) to be used in the October 2023 local government elections, a candidate must receive more than half the votes to win — this is much fairer. Under OPV if no candidate receives more than 50% of first preferences, the candidate with the least number of votes is excluded and the preferences are distributed to the remaining candidates. This process is repeated until a candidate has enough votes to be elected.

If you choose to rank the candidates in order of your preference, this system ensures your vote still has power, even if your favourite candidate does not win in the first round.

Of course, because this is optional preferential voting, you have the option to choose just to place a 1 next to one candidate and not number every candidate — it’s up to you. This is just one of the many reforms of the Local Government Act that will strengthen local democracy, and that is good news for all ratepayers and residents.

Local Government Act reform


Page reviewed 27 February 2023