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Running for Council

How are people chosen to run the council?

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.

From the 2016 Quadrennial election, all Mayors are now to be elected using the optional preferential system of voting, 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 the councillors are elected from divisions, the vote is also optional preferential.

If there are no divisions all councillors are elected by all the electors on the roll for the council area, and 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.