State elections are held on the last Saturday in March every 4 years, and Local Government elections are held on the second Saturday in September every 4 years. On these days, polling places are set up to enable electors to vote in person. All polling places are open from 8am to 6pm on election day. These are referred to as 'polling hours'. If you are unable to attend a polling place on election day, there are other options available.
Voting is compulsory for both State and Local Government elections and if you do not vote you may receive a fine.
Depending on your circumstances you may be able to vote by post or to vote in person at a pre-poll location.
For State elections, recent amendments to the legislation mean that electors who will be outside of New South Wales on election day also have the option to cast an iVote.
Some nursing homes, hospitals or similar facilities have election officials visit in the lead up to the election, so those who may have difficulty getting to a polling place can still vote.
If you are interstate or overseas you may also be able to attend a voting centre outside of the State, however, this option is not available for Local Government elections.
At State elections, if you vote within your District on election day, you vote as an ‘ordinary’ voter. Once your name has been marked off the roll, you complete your ballot papers and place them in the ballot boxes available.
If you vote at a polling place outside your district, you vote as an ‘absent’ voter. The election official will fill out your details on an envelope that you must sign. Once you have completed your ballot papers, you return them to the election official who will place the ballot papers into the envelope and seal it and place in a seperate ballot box. These envelopes are returned unopened to the Returning Officer’s Office, where arrangements are made for them to be sent to the elector's enrolled District where they are checked, opened and the votes are counted.
At Local Government elections, there is no absent voting available, however, Sydney Town Hall will be available for all electors to vote on election day otherwise you must vote at a polling place in your area/ward on election day.
In councils that have wards, there will be 1 polling place that will issue votes for all the wards in addition to ward-specific polling places.
Electors who need assistance to vote can take a friend to help them or ask an election official to assist.
We have a range of options for people who may need extra assistance to vote, including those electors with low vision, physical disabilities or electors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Assistance is available both before Election Day and at the polling place.