Ordinary local government elections are held every two years on the third Saturday in October.
The last local government elections were held in October 2017.
The majority of local governments conduct postal voting elections and contract the
Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) to run their elections.
Local governments that conduct in-person elections receive support from the department, with a small number
contracting the WAEC.
The WAEC appoints returning officers for the elections it conducts.
Voting in a local government election is not compulsory in Western Australia. However, all electors are strongly encouraged to vote.
First past the post
Under the first past the post system, electors indicate the candidate, or candidates, of their choice by placing a tick in the box opposite the names of the chosen persons — up to the number of vacancies to be filled. The result of an election will be
determined by counting the number of votes received by each candidate.
In cases where there is a single vacancy, the candidate with the most votes will be elected; while in cases where there is more than one vacancy, candidates will be
elected in order according to the number of votes received by each.
In-person and postal elections
A local government may run either a postal election or a voting in-person election. Where an in-person election is held, electors may apply for a postal vote, absentee vote or an early vote if they are not able to go to a polling booth on election
Enrolling to vote
The election conducted in each local government comes under the control of a returning officer.
The Local Government Act 1995 (the Act) provides that the council's chief executive officer is the returning officer for every voting in-person election
unless the local government decides to appoint another person to perform the function.
The electoral commissioner appoints returning officers for postal elections and in-person elections conducted by the WAEC. A list of returning officers is available
WAEC website. For all other elections, contact the relevant local government for more information.
If the office of an elected councillor, mayor or president becomes vacant due to the death or resignation of a member, or another reason listed in the Act, an extraordinary election must be held within four months of the vacancy occurring.
of extraordinary vacancies that occur after the third Saturday in January and up until the third Saturday in July in an election year can be deferred if approved by the electoral commissioner under the Act.
The Act provides for elections to be held for other reasons, such as:
- after a restructure of districts or wards
- after the reinstatement of a council following suspension
- after all offices become vacant
- after a council is dismissed.
other elections are advertised under local government notices in The West Australian newspaper. The advertisements give details about enrolling to vote, nominating to be a candidate in the elections, the ways in which a vote can be cast and the date
of the election.