Changes make council elections fairer
The outcome of council elections will be fairer and the need to hold costly by-elections removed under new regulations to be introduced by the NSW Government.
Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton yesterday tabled the Government’s response to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters which would align practices at council elections with State elections.
Ms Upton said the Government accepted all 10 recommendations in the committee’s report which would increase transparency and accuracy of council elections and improve public confidence in the system.
She said changes to the way candidate preferences are distributed will ensure the outcome of a local government election is transparent, fair and accurate.
“When a candidate reaches the quota and is elected, their surplus votes are transferred to other candidates according to the numbered preferences on a ballot paper,” Ms Upton said.
“Currently these surplus votes are distributed based on a random sample which could potentially introduce an element of luck into the outcome of elections.
“Under the changes, random samples will no longer be used. Instead a new fractional transfer system called the ‘weighted inclusive Gregory method’ will be adopted to ensure that all votes are counted which will improve the fairness and accuracy of the election outcome.”
The changes will also allow the implementation of reforms to give councils the option of filling a councillor vacancy without holding a costly by-election.