Council candidates

When are the next council elections?

In South Australia periodic council elections are held every four years. 

The most recent periodic council elections were held in November 2018. The next periodic council elections are scheduled for November 2022.

Supplementary council elections (by-elections) occur on an as-needed basis to fill unexpected vacancies resulting from the death, illness, or resignation of an elected council member. For information about current supplementary elections please visit our council elections webpage.

Who can be a candidate?

To be a candidate for a council election, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen (or have been a member of a council at any time between 5 May 1997 and 1 January 2000)

And, by the time of the close of rolls, you must also be:

  • an elector for the council area

Or

  • the designated person of a body corporate or a group which has its name on the voters roll for the area. If you have been left off the voters roll in error you may also be able to be a candidate.

If you have been left off the voters roll in error you may also be able to be a candidate.

Who cannot be a candidate?

You cannot be a candidate for a council election if you are:

  • a State or Commonwealth parliamentarian.
  • an undischarged bankrupt or benefiting from insolvent debtor legislation.
  • an employee of the council.
  • disqualified from election by court order.
  • sentenced to imprisonment and are, or could become, liable to serve the sentence or the remainder of the sentence.
  • a member of another council.

Why be a candidate?

Councils are responsible for many of the services that make South Australia such a great place to live and work, including libraries, playgrounds, sporting facilities and rubbish and recycling.

Becoming a councillor or mayor means you will help shape a wide range of policies and decisions that will impact the short and long-term future of your local community.

The Local Government Association of South Australia has a guide with information about the role of local government and councillors and campaigning as a candidate:

Make a difference nominate for council (PDF 17.4 MB)

How do I become a candidate?

The process for becoming a candidate for a council election is called ‘nominating’.

Every election has a nomination period. This is the time that you are able to submit your nomination. For council elections the nomination period is two weeks.

During this period, you must complete a nomination form and a profile statement and lodge it with ECSA. You can also lodge a photograph of yourself.

If your nomination form and statement meet requirements, your nomination will be accepted and you will officially be a candidate.

Interested in finding out more? The Candidate Briefing Session on our YouTube page has more details

Where can I find a nomination form?

ECSA prepares a special nomination kit for each council election. The kit contains all the forms and guides you need to become a candidate. You can download an electronic version of the kit from our website, or pick up a printed nomination kit from your local council office.

The nomination kits are made available around the time that the nomination period opens.

What are my responsibilities as a candidate?

As a candidate you have a range of important responsibilities and obligations under the law. These include making sure all electoral material you publish contains the proper authorisation statement, and that the material is not inaccurate and misleading.

All candidates, whether successful or not, must also lodge a Campaign Donations Return form with the council within 30 days of the conclusion of the election.

More information about your legal responsibilities as a candidate is available in ECSA’s Candidate Handbook, which all candidates are expected to read before nominating:

LG20 - Candidate Handbook (PDF 2 MB)

What legislation covers council elections?

The rules that govern council elections are set out in the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 and regulations (external link).

Special election provisions for the Adelaide City Council are set out in Schedule 1 of the City of Adelaide Act 1998 (external link) contains.

Both those Acts should be read alongside the Local Government Act 1999 (external link).

Council election forms and guides

Please note that nomination forms are only available immediately before and during the nomination period for an election.


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