Tas Bill for Compulsory Voting for Local Government Elections Awaiting Assent

Friday 3 June 2022 @ 2.53 p.m. | Legal Research

The Local Government Amendment (Elections) Bill 2022 (Tas) ("the Bill”) was introduced into Tasmania’s House of Assembly by Minister for Local Government, Hon Nicholas Street on 24 May 2022.

The Bill proposes amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (Tas).

The Bill passed both houses with no amendments on 2 June 2022, and is currently awaiting assent.

Purpose of the Bill

The Bill seeks to introduce compulsory voting for local government elections in Tasmania. The proposed provisions broadly correspond to those in the Electoral Act 2004 (Tas) in respect of State elections.

The Bill's Fact Sheet further explains that:

“Compulsory voting will apply for persons eligible to vote in local government elections by virtue of enrolment on the House of Assembly electoral roll at an address in the electoral area; and will not apply for other classes of person who may be eligible to vote in a local government election by virtue of inclusion on the general manager’s roll for a council.”

Amendments under the Bill

The amendments proposed by the Bill provide that:

“... it is an offence for a person to fail to vote in an election in the electoral area without a valid and sufficient reason, which includes not being entitled to or incapacity to vote, and a belief that it is the elector’s religious duty to abstain from voting in an election.”

The Bill also seeks to reduce ballot formality requirements for elections of more than five councillors. These amendments provide that that a ballot need be numbered only from 1 to 5 to be formal.

This measure seeks to address an observed increase in informal voting following the introduction of “all in, all out” councillor elections through the Local Government Amendment (Elections) Bill 2013 (Tas). These types of voting has required an elector sto number as many as 12 candidates validly to make a formal vote.

The Bill also proposed ballot savings provisions. Under these provisions the ballot will be considered formal and counted if an error is made beyond the mandatory number of preferences.

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Local Government Amendment (Elections) Bill 2022 (Tas) and additional explanatory materials available from TimeBase's LawOne Service

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