The New South Wales government has postponed its September council elections in response to the state’s escalating COVID-19 situation.
NSW on Sunday reported 141 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths, including a woman in her 30s.
Local government minister Shelley Hancock said the decision to move the election date from September 4 to December 4 was made following consultation with the NSW Electoral Commission and NSW Health.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current Public Health Orders impacting Greater Sydney, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Local Government elections until later this year,” she said.
“We have taken this step to postpone the election to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities, voters, polling staff and candidates.”
Candidate nominations were set to open today, but have been delayed until October 25. Nominations will close on November 3.
Hancock said the state’s 5.2 million voters would be able to cast their ballot safely in person, by post or online, using the electronic voting system, iVote.
In addition to making iVote available for the first time in the local council elections, the NSW government has implemented changes to reduce congestion on polling day, by ensuring voters have 13 days to cast their ballot.
The state government has committed $37 million to ensure the 2021 council elections are delivered in a COVID safe way.
Hancock noted that this year’s election would see around 5,000 candidates vie for 1,200 councillor positions across 125 local councils.