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2018 South Australian Council elections

20 November 2018

A record number of South Australians took part in the 2018 Council elections run over October and November across 67 local councils with a voter turnout of 32.66% compared to 31.99% in the previous elections held in 2014.

 

Voting was by postal ballot and was not compulsory.

 

A total of 1,374 candidates stood for election, compared to 1,334 in 2014.  There were 206 contested elections out of a total possible 230 including 637 councillor positions and 52 mayoral positions.

 

Candidate briefings were held across the state during August and in early September with nominations open between 7 and 18 September.

 

The elections were conducted via post, and voting packs were sent to eligible electors in the final week of October.

 

After the 9 November voting close, counting revealed a surge in the number of women elected to council with 22 women elected to the position of mayor compared to nine in 2014.

 

Due to the number of candidates running for councillor positions in 42 elections, Easy Count software was used to conduct the complex counts whereas all other elections were counted by hand. All counts were completed and results declared by 14 November.

 

By early November, ECSA had received 287 complaints for the 2018 Council elections. While the total number of complaints for 2018 is yet to be tallied the number has already surpassed the 194 complaints received for the 2014 Council elections.

 

The increase in complaints for 2018 could be attributed to the record number of candidates standing as well as the increasing use of social media channels for campaigning and lack of understanding of rules regarding authorised announcements.