Become a local council candidate

Elections are held every 4 years for all Victorian councils.

The next council elections will take place this October for all councils except Moira Shire Council.

The opening and closing dates to submit your nomination will be available soon.

Continue reading to learn about the requirements and responsibilities that all local council candidates must meet.

  • Eligibility

    To become a candidate in a local council election, you must:

    • have completed the mandatory Local Government candidate training before nominating
    • be an Australian citizen
    • be 18 years or older
    • be enrolled in the council you're contesting
    • not be disqualified from being a councillor.

    You cannot be a candidate if any of the following apply to you:

    • you are an undischarged bankrupt
    • you have property that is subject to control under the law relating to bankruptcy
    • you are employed by the council you're contesting (you can take leave from your role to nominate)
    • you have been convicted of any criminal offences referred to in the Local Government Act 2020
    • you are a councillor of another council, including interstate councils
    • you are member of any Australian state or federal parliament
    • you are employed by a federal or state member of parliament as a ministerial officer, a parliamentary adviser, or an electorate officer. You can take leave from your role to nominate
    • you are otherwise incapable of becoming or continuing to be a councillor.

    Further details are outlined in the Local Government Act 2020.

    Seek independent legal advice if you're unsure about your eligibility to nominate.

  • How to nominate

    To nominate, you must:

    • complete your nomination paperwork
    • make an appointment at the election office in your council
    • submit your nomination paperwork in person at your appointment
    • declare that you have completed the mandatory Local Government candidate training within 2 years of election day
    • pay the $250 nomination fee.

    There are strict deadlines for nominations. Late nominations cannot be accepted.

    Candidate Helper

    We recommend you use Candidate Helper to fill out your nomination paperwork.

    This online tool guides you through the process and saves you time at the election office when you’re finalising your nomination.

    Candidate Helper will be available before nominations open to help you complete your nomination paperwork.

    Find out more about how to nominate.

  • Campaigning

    If you are sharing something that is considered 'electoral campaign material', you must authorise it.

    These requirements apply to everyone at all times, not just candidates or during elections.

    Learn how to authorise electoral campaign material.

    The Local Government Inspectorate is responsible for enforcing these rules and investigating breaches. Visit lgi.vic.gov.au for more information.

  • Funding and donations

    Candidates must disclose donations and gifts they receive in the lead up to an election or provide a statement that no gifts were received.

    The Local Government Inspectorate is responsible for enforcing these rules and investigating breaches. Visit lgi.vic.gov.au for more information.

    There is no public funding available for local council candidates.

  • Ballot paper order

    The position of each candidate on the ballot paper is determined by a single computerised random draw for each council after nominations close.

    The exception is Melbourne City Council, where the Leadership Team ballot is determined by a single randomised draw, and the councillor ballot is randomly drawn in two parts:

    • the order of the groups above the line
    • the order of the ungrouped candidates.

    The computerised draw software has been independently audited and certified, determining that the draw is completely random. View the software component that generates the random order for the ballot.

  • Getting a copy of the roll

    After nominations close, you can request a free electronic copy of the roll for the election you are contesting to help your campaigning.

    We do not give out:

    • email addresses
    • phone numbers
    • details of silent electors.

    You must declare that you will only use roll data for campaigning. You must also destroy or return your copy of the roll within 30 days of election day. Strict penalties apply for misusing roll data.

  • Uncontested elections

    If the number of candidates in an election is the same as the number of vacancies, those candidates are elected without the need for a vote. This is called being elected unopposed, or an uncontested election.

    If there are fewer candidates than vacancies, the candidates who nominated are declared elected. A by-election is held at a future date to fill the remaining vacancies.

    If nobody nominates as a candidate, no voting takes place and another election is held as soon as possible.

  • Resources

    The Candidate Handbook has all the information you need to know about how elections work and how to nominate.

    The Scrutineer Handbook describes what activities a scrutineer can observe and gives instructions on how to appoint a scrutineer.

  • Acts and regulations