In a bid to represent their municipality, candidates are in full local government election mode.
Reporter TARLIA JORDAN explains the process of the upcoming elections.
The voluntary elections are conducted by post, with all the required information being delivered to your door step.
The two hardest things to do in the election will be finding a pen, and posting the envelope back.
However, to help with the latter, the Tasmanian Electoral Commission plans to launch a phone application to show where the closest post box is to you.
BEFORE THE ELECTION
This is the first time there has been a four-year gap between local government elections in Tasmania’s history.
In those four years, Australia Post has changed its delivery method to a two-speed process, with priority mail and delivery mail.
Tasmanian Electoral Commission commissioner Andrew Hawkey said this had slowed the voting process down.
“All post now moves via Hobart. So if you’re in Derby and wanting to post to Scottsdale, it will come to Hobart before it gets sent back to Scottsdale,” he said.
Because this process has been slowed down, the TEC has lengthened the voting period.
The TEC expects to send about one million envelopes during the 2018 election.
The three-envelope system is used to ensure secrecy and security of the ballot paper. It involves an outer window-faced envelope, a reply-paid envelope and a ballot paper security envelope.
The ballot envelope has an extended perforated flap for voter details and signatures.
This information is required to verify eligible votors, but is removed before the vote is counted for anonymity.
In addition to the three envelopes, voters will also receive candidate pack, which introduces the candidates.
The package costs about $1 per person.
Every candidate pack mailed will explain the voting process to the electors, and introduce the candidate for that local government area.
“Every pack will have a statement booklet … it gives the opportunity for the candidate to provide a statement of up to 600 characters and a photo of themselves to introduce themselves to the elector,” Mr Hawkey said.
“We find the photo is very important. If you’re in a bigger area where you might not have had a chance to meet all the candidates.
“The statement also gives the electors a chance to find out what the candidates are standing for, and why.”
Having the candidate pack at home allows voters to go through and work out who they’d like to vote for, Mr Hawkey said.
“It means rather than having to go into a polling place, sitting at a screen and feeling like you have to fill it out in two minutes, you can have more time because the vote comes to you.”
DURING THE ELECTION
The election officially gets underway on September 8, when the TEC announced there would be an election.
From September 10, candidates could officially nominate their plans to run for local government.
On September 24, the candidate nomination period ends, and 24 hours later, the TEC officially announces the candidates.
“Every pack will have a statement booklet … it gives the opportunity for the candidate to provide a statement of up to 600 characters and a photo of themselves to introduce themselves to the elector.TEC Commissioner Andrew Hawkey
For the two weeks following, the TEC will send out the information packs and ballot papers to voters.
“That’s when we have the one million envelopes printed, 400,000 of them have to be individually printed with addresses and a barcode with an individual election number,” Mr Hawkey said.
Voting officially closes on October 30.
Any votes received after then, will not be counted.
The voting system
Three states in Australia have non-compulsory local government election voting, and along with Western Australia and South Australia, Tasmania is one of them.
All election positions are conducted based on the Hare-Clark method.
Then, the Robertson Rotation System is used to rotate the order candidate’s names appear on the ballot paper.
To vote in the elections, people will need to be enrolled on the electoral roll, or the general manager’s roll.
The general manager’s roll is for people those who aren’t on the electoral roll for that area, but might own property in the area.
For example, the person might live in Launceston, but has a shack on the East Coast
Rolls will close on September 13 at 6pm.
The counting process
The votes will be counted on a daily basis.
“They’ll come into Hobart and will be sorted into each individual council,” Mr Hawkey said.
“We will pull them out of the envelopes, take the declarations off, and mark them off the roll.
“We remove the declaration flap, which has the person’s name and signature on it so they’re anonymous votes.
“They’ll all then be shipped to the counting centres, which are in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport.”
All the councils, bar four councils and Glenorchy – which had an election earlier this year – will have data entered.
At the 2014 election, results from about 10 councils were data entered, which he said was a major success and the reason for this year’s increase.
Mr Hawkey said data entry was a more accurate and timely process.
“We hope to have the result known for all mayors and deputy positions on the night, but they will have to wait until they get a letter from the council asking them to take up that position,” he said.
“I expect we will have our first figure in for the councillors around 7pm and then rechecked figures later on Tuesday night.”
However, Mr Hawkey said there was every chance the councils that had close results would find out the next day.
“If it’s really close, like we had a few years ago in Launceston with [Rosemary] Armitage and [Albert] van Zetten being only four votes apart, then we have to wait until the next day and recheck it,” he said.
For mayors and deputy mayors to be offered the position, they have to receive 50 per cent of the vote.
“You throw everything in the number one, and if no one was 50 per cent then you take the candidate with the lowest number of votes and go to number two to see if anyone reaches the majority,” Mr Hawkey said.
“You just keep taking the votes from the lowest candidate until someone reaches the minimum.”
Successful councillors and aldermen will not be expected to know everything about the council the day they find out if they’re successful, Local Government Association of Tasmania chief executive Katrena Stephenson said.
The TEC’s returning officer will write to the general manager of each council and send a certificate of election out.
“The first thing they have to do is make a declaration of office. They can’t actually attend a council meeting until they do that,” she said.
“There is a prescribed format in which they do that, they effectively take an oath.”
Then councillors will have induction days.
“Each council will host some induction activities for the councillors, and so does LGAT,” she said.
“There is probably a busy time in the first month for them getting that knowledge built up, and it’s done collectively with the whole council.”
Mr Hawkey said getting the knowledge was one of the contributing factors to extend a term of local government from two years to four years.
“They thought if they had elections every four years it was easier to get everyone through those induction periods rather than having to do it every 18 months.”