Local government elections

Local government elections are held every two years, on the third Saturday in October. The next ordinary local government election will take place on Saturday 21 October 2023.

Current Council composition

The Shire of Murray’s Council currently comprises eight elected members, with all eight Councillors elected to represent the entire community. A Shire President is currently elected by a majority vote of Councillors.

New Council composition

The Local Government Act 1995 has changed the way that Councils are able to be composed. To respond to these legislative changes, the Council endorsed a Ward and Representation Review at its Special Meeting on Thursday 9 February 2023. The Ward and Representation review resulted in:

  • The method of electing the Shire President being changed to being elected by all electors of the Shire of Murray; and
  • Reducing the number of “Councillors” from nine to eight.

This means that there are four vacancies in the 2023 election.

  • The Shire President; and
  • Three (3) Councillors.

For the 2023 election, the terms of current Councillors David Bolt (President), Steve Lee and Ange Rogers will expire.

The terms of current Councillors Douglas McLarty, Geoff Black, Stewart Carter, Stuart Kirkham and David Pike expire in October 2025 and will continue past the 2023 election.

Voting method and count

The Shire of Murray appoint the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) to conduct its elections via a postal vote. The WAEC appoints a Returning Officer, who oversees the conduct of the election. This includes taking candidate nominations and supervising the count on election night.

Election packages are posted to all electors on the Shire of Murray’s electoral rolls. Electors are to then complete their packages and return them via the mail or hand deliver into a sealed ballot box at the Shire’s Administration Centre, before 6pm on election day.

Replacement ballot papers are available for registered voters at the Shire’s Administration Centre, 1915 Pinjarra Road Pinjarra.

The count commences at 6pm on election day and results are usually available later in the evening on the WAEC website.

Optional preferential voting

The Local Government Act 1995 has also been changed to bring in optional preferential voting into local government elections.

This will mean the way you fill out your ballot paper will change.

Optional preferential voting is very similar to the way you vote in State and Federal elections; however, you do not have to assign every candidate with your preferences. You can vote for one, some or all candidates on the ballot paper.

With optional preferential voting, if the candidate you have given your first preference to is eliminated from the count, your vote will be redistributed to your next preference on the ballot paper. This process will continue until one candidate has the majority of votes.

You will receive more information from the WAEC on optional preferential voting when you receive your voting packs.

For more information on optional preferential voting, please visit the Department of Local Government’s website.

Enrolling to vote

To be eligible to vote in local government elections, you need to be either a resident recorded in the State Electoral Roll or a property or business owner recorded on the Shire’s Owners and Occupiers Electoral Roll if you are not a resident of the Shire of Murray.

The electoral rolls close on Friday 25 August 2023, so please ensure your enrolment details are up to date before this time or you may miss out.

State Electoral Roll

Residents who are listed on the State Electoral Roll within the Shire of Murray will be sent an election package in the post.

If you have recently moved to the Shire of Murray and are already on the State Electoral Roll, you will need to complete a change of address form to vote in local government elections.

You can check your enrolment status on the State Electoral Roll by visiting the WAEC website.

Owners and Occupiers Electoral Roll

If you operate a business or own property in the Shire of Murray but do not live here, you may be eligible for listing on the Owners and Occupiers Electoral Roll.

To be eligible, you must be enrolled on the State Electoral Roll where you live, and either own or have a right of continuous occupation under a lease tenancy agreement or other legal instrument to a property within the Shire of Murray. The right of continuous occupation must extend for at least three months.

Where two or more individuals jointly own or occupy a property, up to two of them may enrol. Where there are three or more co-owners or occupiers, written agreement from the majority must be provided.

Where a company or body corporate owns or occupies rateable land, up to two people can be enrolled to vote on its behalf.

If the same company or body corporate owns more than one property in the Shire, the body is still only entitled to have two nominated persons on the roll.

Inclusion on the roll solely as a nominee for a company does not meet the eligibility criteria for nominating as a candidate.

Occupiers and occupier nominees remain on the roll for two elections after their enrolment is accepted and are taken off the roll six months after the second election. They must re-enrol if they wish to continue as electors.

Owners of rateable property remain on the roll until the relevant property passes ownership.

Complete this form to enrol. 

Declaring Electoral Gifts

Candidates and donors are required to disclose to the Chief Executive Officer the receipt, promise or donation of each gift they receive or are promised or donate in the course of an election campaign.  The period over which you must declare gifts starts six months before the election day and concludes 3 days after the election for unsuccessful candidates and the day a candidate makes their declaration of office for successful candidates. 

Potential candidates should familiarise themselves with the requirements of election gifts. These requirements are contained within Part 5A of the Local Government (Elections) Regulations 1997. Click here to go to the latest version of the regulations.

This form is to be filled out to declare a gift and sent to the Shire of Murray.

Nominating for the Election

Nominations for the election open on Thursday 31 August 2023 and close at 4pm on Thursday 7 September 2023. Please ensure you contact the Returning Officer to book your nomination meeting. There is a nomination deposit of $100 that is payable at the time of your nomination. This deposit is refunded to the candidate if the candidate:

  • is successful in being elected to the Shire Council;
  • receives at least 5% of the total number of first preference votes;
  • passes away; or
  • withdraws their nomination before the close of nominations

If a candidate runs for President and Councillor, and is successful in being elected President, that candidate's deposit for the Councillor election is also refunded. 

All candidate's deposits are refunded in the event the Court of Disputed Returns declares the election to have been invalid. 

The Shire will be in contact with all candidates following the election to confirm their eligibility for a refund and to arrange for those refunds, where eligible.