Council countbacks and by-elections

If a councillor resigns or cannot complete their term, to fill the vacancy we may hold a:

  • by-election
  • countback.


In a council by-election, people vote to elect a new councillor.

We hold a by-election if:

  • a councillor resigns or cannot complete their term in a single-councillor ward
  • there are no remaining eligible candidates in a multi-member ward or unsubdivided council
  • there are more than 6 months before the next general council election.


A countback is held when a vacating councillor was elected by proportional representation (a multi-councillor ward or an unsubdivided council).

All candidates who were not elected at the original election, and who are still eligible to be a councillor, are automatically participants in the countback. The original election is the most recent election that was not conducted by a countback.

All votes from the original election are included in the countback. To be successful at a countback, a participating candidate needs to achieve a quota. The quota for election in the countback is the same quota as that applied to the count of votes in the original election.

Before they can be declared elected, a successful candidate must complete and return a declaration stating that they are still qualified to be a councillor. If the candidate does not return a declaration within 48 hours, a further countback will be held.

If there are no remaining eligible candidates to participate in a countback, a by-election is required.