Following the enactment of legislation in 2013, all elected Council members retire from their positions every 4 years and nominations for the vacancies are declared open. Elections are usually held in October of each election year. Voting is not compulsory. Members are elected for four year terms at these elections.
The Chief Electoral Officer of the Tasmanian Electoral Commission is responsible for the supervision of local government elections. This includes the production of ballot papers, approval of forms and procedures, the appointment of returning officers, public awareness and statutory advertising of election dates, nomination periods, etc. The person in charge of running an election is called the Returning Officer. They are appointed by the Electoral Commissioner to administer matters concerning the election.
Council elections are conducted by postal ballot. All elections for Aldermen positions are required to be conducted using a multi-member proportional representation electoral system. This is directly modelled on the Hare-Clark system used for Tasmanian House of Assembly elections. A feature of the Hare-Clark electoral system is that vacant seats are filled by recount rather than by-elections. Under the postal ballot system there is a “polling period” of at least 10 days (excluding any Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday), rather than a single polling day.
Who is eligible to vote?
Anyone who is enrolled for House of Assembly elections is eligible to vote. Others who can register to vote by completing a form available from the Council are:
- Residents who are not on the State Electoral Roll (for instance non-Australian citizens);
- Non-resident owners or occupiers of property in the Council area; and
- The nominee of a corporate body.