What you need to know about running for council

WANTING to run for council? Here's some advice from the Local Government Association and Electoral Commission that you may want to know. 

When to start the nomination process

Once you have determined you are eligible to nominate for councillor or mayor you will have to go through a formal nomination process.

You may need to discuss your intent to nominate with members of your family, your community and others well in advance of formal nomination.

Before nominating you will need to have six electors from your local government area to endorse your nomination as an independent candidate.

Alternatively you will need to secure endorsement from a political party that is nominating candidates in your local government election.

For this reason it is ideal to plan ahead.

The formal process cannot take place until the returning officer invites nominations.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland provides information for candidates.

Who to contact

The returning officer for the local government election is responsible for the nomination process and proper conduct of an election.

You can find out who the returning officer is in your area by contacting the Electoral Commission of Queensland.

Your nomination must be on the approved form available from the local government and given to the returning officer after the nominations are invited for the election but before noon on the nomination day.

The details can be found in sections 27-32 of the Local Government Electoral Act 2011.

Candidates can nominate for either mayor or councillor but not both as dual candidacy is not permitted.

The cost

A deposit must be paid to the returning officer at the time of your nomination.

The deposit of $250 must be paid by you, the nominee, or someone on your behalf, in cash, by cheque or electronic funds transfer.

Section 39 of the Local Government Electoral Act 2011 provides the details about the deposit to accompany your nomination.

Head here for more information 

About local government elections

Elections for all council positions are held every four years, with the most recent being held in April 2012.

The next election for Queensland councils will be in 2016.

Residents who are already on the electoral roll are automatically entitled to vote in council elections.

The Electoral Commissioner Queensland runs all council elections.

There are many rules and regulations that ensure an election is run properly and fairly and it is the Commissioner's responsibility to be aware of all these regulations and advise candidates and their helpers.

Before the election is to be held, nominations for positions on the council are called.

Candidates must fill out a nomination form saying that they want to stand for a position on the council and have their name included on the ballot paper in the coming election.

After the close of nominations, if more than the required number of candidates have nominated for any position, those who have nominated undertake an election campaign, encouraging people to vote for them.

In Queensland, voting can be either by attending a polling place and voting in person, or by voting on ballot papers sent to you in the mail - called Postal Voting.

If the election is being conducted as a Postal Vote, each elector on the roll is mailed voting papers, including forms to be filled out and signed, and ballot papers and envelopes that are returned to the Returning Officer for the election.

If the councillors are elected from divisions, the vote can be optional preferential, meaning voters can indicate second or third preference candidates.

If there isn't a clear winner with 50% plus 1 of the counted votes, then the Returning Officer has to 'distribute preferences', which means counting the second and third preferences until one candidate has the required number of votes to win the election.

If there are no divisions and all councillors and the Mayor are being elected by all the electors on the roll for the council area, then the vote is counted 'first past the post', which means that the candidate with the most votes is elected.

When all the votes have been counted and checked, the Returning Officer announces or 'declares' which candidates are preferred by the community to represent them on Council for the next four years.

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