Election Timeline (Electoral Commission)

Have you Enrolled?

Learn about Local Government Enrolment


Local Government Elections are held on the third Saturday in October, every two years. 


25 August 2023: Enrolments to vote close at 5:00pm.

31 August 2023: Nominations for election to Council open.

7 September 2023: Nominations for election to Council close at 4:00pm.

14 September 2023: The Shire will be voluntarily operating in a Caretaker Period, commencing until Election Day.

15 September 2023: WA Electoral Commission commence posting electoral packages to regional WA electors via Australia Post (20 September 2023 for metropolitan areas).

21 October 2023: Election day, with voting closing as of 6:00pm. Vote counting commences from this time, and it is expected that results will be available later that evening.


Voting is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged.

By resolution of the Council (Commissioner),the Shire has determined that the election will be conducted via 'postal vote' rather than by 'in person' voting. This is the standard approach by most Local Governments in WA, where the WA Electoral Commission conducts the election.

    • The WA Electoral Commission have provided a cost estimate of $40,000 to the Shire to run this year's election.

All eligible electors must enrol to vote, which you can check/do on the Electoral Commission's website. When you enrol to vote, you are enrolled for Commonwealth, State and Local Government Elections. Visit the WA Electoral Commission's website now to learn more: 

Local Government Enrolment (WAEC)

All residents in a Local Government district who are enrolled on the State Electoral Roll are automatically enrolled on the corresponding local government roll. All eligible electors are allowed to vote once in any district or ward for which they are enrolled. If a person lives within one local district or ward, and owns or occupies property in a different district or ward, they may be entitled to a vote in both areas, provided they are enrolled for those addresses. 

If you are a resident of the Shire and not already enrolled to vote at your residence, you must make a claim for enrolment with the WA Electoral Commission:


The Donnybrook Council Chamber will be open for you to drop a late voting slip if needed, with Shire staff available to assist in processing it. However, this election will be done using the 'postal election format.'


There are nine (9) vacant elected member positions available for potential candidates to nominate for this year.

If more than nine (9) people nominate themselves for Council, there will be an election. The five (5) people to receive the highest vote tally will each receive a 4-year term on Council, whilst the four (4) people with the next highest vote tally will receive a 2-year term on Council.

If more than five (5) people, but less than nine (9) people, nominate themselves for Council, they will be declared 'elected, unopposed.' An extraordinary election would then need to take place as soon as possible after the ordinary election for the vacant seat(s).

If less than five (5) people nominate themselves for Council, they will be declared 'elected, unopposed.' However, they will not be able to form a full Council or perform the functions of a Council. Consequently, an extraordinary election would the vacant positions would be conducted as soon as possible for the vacant seats. 

Are you looking to become a Candidate?

Nominations open on Thursday 31 August 2023, and will close a week later at 4:00pm on Thursday 7 September. Once nominations are submitted and closed, the candidates will be confirmed and a 'Meet the Candidates' event will take place. Here, candidates will be able to provide an overview of their skills, experience, motivations, and visions. This event is typically hosted by the Donnybrook Balingup Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

Election of the Shire President & Deputy President

Once our new Councillors are sworn in, the Council will then elect a Shire President and Deputy President from the nine (9) Councillors at its first meeting after the election. This will be in November 2023, provided that all seats are filled. Please note that while the new Local Government Reforms enable the Shire to have a few as five (5) Councillors, there has not been a decision of our Council (previously) to reduce the number from nine (9).


The State Government is reforming the Local Government Act 1995 (the Act).

The reforms are aimed at ensuring local governments better serve residents and ratepayers. The reforms have been crafted in consultation with the local government sector. They are the most significant reforms to the sector in 25 years. You can read about the reform in full on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) website linked below:

www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au Watch a Webinar

What does this mean for the 2023 Elections in our Shire?

With the reform comes Optional Preferential Voting (OPV), which brings all Local Government Elections back in line with State and Federal elections. It also gives you more power in your right to express preferences when voting, as well as requires the Mayor or President of class 1 or 2 Local Governments to be elected by the public rather than within Council alone. The Shire of Donnybrook Balingup is a class 3 Local Government, meaning that the Shire President will be voted by Council using the Optional Preferential Voting (OPV) method.

Preferential voting means that you are not required to provide all preferences in casting your vote, instead of using the first-past-the-post system. This method means that candidates are more representative of the majority of voters and will provide greater diversity and views on Council, as using the previous system has shown that some candidates have been elected with as little as 4.71% of the votes in total as found by the DLGSC. 

There will be no changes to the process of voting, with the only adjustment being how you complete your vote on your ballot paper. 


Here are some resources that will equip you for the upcoming elections, as a candidate and voter.

Key Shire and Council documents:

Shire of Donnybrook Balingup - Council Plan 2022-2032

Shire of Donnybrook Balingup - Long Term Financial Plan 2022-2042

Code of Conduct - Council and Committee Members, and Candidates

Owner/Occupier Roll:

Enrolment on the owner/occupier roll allows a person who is enrolled to vote at one address, and owns or occupies property at a different address, to a vote in both areas. It also allows non-resident co-owners and occupiers who are enrolled to vote at another address, or a body corporate, to apply to nominate up to two eligible electors to be included on the owner/occupier roll. If you own or occupy property within the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup, and you are an eligible elector, you may apply to be included on the roll.

Requirements are that the elector must:

  • own or occupy rateable property in the electorate;
  • have been on the last electoral roll prepared under the Local Government  (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960  for that electorate; and
  • have owned or occupied rateable property in the electorate since that roll was prepared.

Enrolment Eligibility Claim Form - Owners/Occupiers Roll


If you have any questions that you can't get answers for here, please contact us and we will do our best to assist you. You may also check back here later to see if there are any updated questions and/or answers.

Where can I learn about the Local Government Reform?

You can read about the Local Government Reform in full on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries website linked below for your convenience:

DLGSC - Local Government Reform Explained

What is the Caretaker Period?

In state and federal government, when a general election is held the government enters what is called a caretaker period. This period means that crucial decisions are not made, that would bind a new government, while the electors are deciding who the new government should be.

Local governments should not be making significant decisions while an election is underway, particularly decisions that would bind a future Council to a particular course of action.  

While the administration of a local government remains the same following an election, that administration is subject to the direction of the Council chosen by the electors. As such, entering into major contracts, changing the CEO and similar significant decisions should not be made until after the local government election concludes allowing the new council to choose the course of action that reflects the electors will.

EM/CP 6 - Caretaker Policy

What is the full process for electing a President?

As per the DLGSC, Optional Preferential Voting (OPV) will be applied to all local government elections including elections for:

  • mayor or president election by the Council
  • deputy mayor or president
  • committee presiding and deputy presiding members.

Given that these elections will always be for a single vacancy and the maximum number of votes to be cast by our Council will be 9, these elections will be straightforward for local governments to implement. The flowchart and steps provided below can also be found on the DLGSC website.

I want to be a candidate - where do I start?

To nominate as a candidate for a Local Government Election, the candidate must make a valid nomination application to the WA Electoral Commission Returning Officer, Linda Wilson. You can contact Linda on 0488 050 579 or LGro_Donnybrook-Balingup@elections.wa.gov.au. A valid nomination consists of:

  • a completed nomination form. It is recommended that candidates use Nomination Builder to complete their nomination form and construct their candidate profile.
  • a candidate profile (150 words maximum)
  • a deposit of $100
  • a photograph (optional).

Under the Local Government Act 1995, to be eligible to nominate as a candidate for a local government election, the candidate must be an elector of the district (residential or owner / occupier) and over 18 years of age. A person cannot nominate as a candidate if they:

  • are a member of the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Council, the House of Representatives or the Senate (or has been elected as such a member but has not yet taken office);
  • are a member of the council of another Local Government;
  • are an insolvent under administration;
  • are in prison serving a sentence for a crime;
  • have been convicted of a serious local government offence within the last 5 years (unless the court waived the disqualification);
  • have been convicted on indictment of an offence for which the indictable penalty was, or included:
    • imprisonment for life, or
    • imprisonment for more than five years.
  • are subject to a court order disqualifying him or her from being a member of a council because he or she has misapplied local government funds or property; or
  • are a nominee of a body corporate.

Prior to nominating, all candidates must complete the online candidate induction course from the DLGSC website, linked below for your convenience:

DLGSC - Candidate Inductions

Electoral Commission - Local Government Candidates Information

Appropriate Election Campaign Materials:

An important part of being a candidate is your Campaign Materials and ensuring that they are authorised. By definition, any material 'that is intended, calculated or likely to affect voting in an election' is required to be authorised. This applies regardless of who is publition the material, and whether it is in printed or electronic form.

Any form or electoral advertisement, such as a handbill, pamphlet, electoral notice (other than a newspaper advert announcing the holding of a meeting), letter or article must contain the name and physical street address (not a PO Box) of the person authorising it at the foot of the material. If it's a hard copy, it must include the name and place of the printing business at the foot of the material as well unless the advert is in a newspaper, in which case the printer is obviously identifiable and contactable.

Certain small items of a candidate or party promotional nature are exempt from the requirement to carry the authorisation and addresses. These include:

  • Merchandise-styled items such as shirts, lapel buttons and/or badges
  • Pens, pencils, balloons
  • Business or visiting cards that promote the candidacy of any person in an election


Candidates have a duty of disclosure of electoral donations. Candidates and donors are required to disclose any electoral related gifts promised or received within the six months prior to polling day.

All queries should be directed to the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup Chief Executive Officer, Benjamin (Ben) Rose:

Electoral Commission - Election Rules 

What happens to the Commissioner role?

Following confirmation of election results, the formal Commissioner role will discontinue. However, the Commissioner will play an important role in briefing the incoming Council, which may take place over the course of 1-2 months. This means that there will be a sufficient hand-over to the new Council from the Commissioner.

In addition to the Commissioner briefing, a Councillor induction, training and onboarding program will be coordinated by the Chief Executive Officer and key staff over the first 3 months.

Why the Postal Election format?

The ‘postal election’ format, run by the WA Electoral Commission, is a common form of local government election in WA. The ‘postal election’ format generally enables a higher voter turnout (compared to in-person voting), noting that voting in local government elections is not mandatory like it is in State and Federal elections.

Having the WA Electoral Commission conduct the election for our Shire ensures a professional, effective and consistent election process, and removes staff from involvement in the election process. This is a standard approach by most local governments in WA, too.