COUNCILS are gearing up to help guarantee NSW voters have their say while staying COVID-safe in the September local government elections, according to Local Government NSW.
LGNSW president Linda Scott said changes to State Government regulations announced earlier this month would help support those efforts, as voters will be able to access an online iVote option, as well as postal or in-person options.
"Resident safety remains the number one priority for councils, and I am confident we can meet this priority and still hold fair and transparent elections," Cr Scott said.
"The new rules focus on ensuring COVID-safe voting, which gives every eligible member of the community an opportunity to elect the council of their choice.
"I have met with the NSW Electoral Commission and Office of Local Government this month to confirm councils' commitment to safe, transparent and accessible elections."
The updated electoral regulations allow for an online iVote option under similar circumstances to postal voting, broadening of pre-poll eligibility to all electors and an expansion of postal voting eligibility.
Cr Scott said it was crucial people know all the voting options available to them, as voting in local government elections in NSW is compulsory under state legislation.
"Council elections are a celebration of democracy at a grassroots level and I am pleased the new electoral provisions released by the State Government recognise and support that process," she said.
"It has always been our view that local government elections should be run in the same way as every other level of government.
"At our 2019 Annual Conference, councils supported the online iVote platform as an option to accomplish this.
"The amendments also provide scope for restrictions on campaign posters and handing out electoral materials where these restrictions are necessary for public health reasons.
"I encourage all voters to visit the NSW Electoral Commission's website for official updates."