Council elections are conducted by the independent Electoral Commission of SA under laws of the State Parliament [the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 - see link below]. Postal ballot packs are sent in late October and ballots must be returned to reach the returning officer by 5pm on Friday, 7 November 2014.
In 189 elections across SA, more nominations (1261) than vacancies were received and these will require an election. For 73 positions there were the same number of nominations as vacancies and these will be elected unopposed (not requiring voting). For only five positions, no nominations were received so these will be re-called in a "supplementary election" early next year. See a list of those elected unopposed here: Elected Unopposed 2014(26 kb)
The campaign period is under way (from 16 September) allowing candidates to canvass for votes and voters to ask questions. The information on this site and links where provided are designed to help voters learn more about candidates. In some areas "meet the candidate" sessions may be provided by the Council or by a community organisation.
Ballot packs including ballot papers and a declaration envelope and reply paid envelope are distributed between October 20 and October 24, 2014. Returned ballot papers must be received by the returning officer by 5pm on Friday 7 November, 2014 so don't leave posting until the last minute.
Caretaker period starts at least from 16 September and lasts until the elections are over. It is established to make sure that some crucial decisions are not locked in during the election period and that Council resources are not used to advantage any candidate or group of candidates. It does not mean Mayors or Councillors stop being Council Members or prevent the need for Council meetings, but Councils cannot make certain decisions in that period, including supporting particular candidates.
More than 340,000 South Australians voted in 2010 but you are not fined if you don't vote in Council elections. Remember, your vote could be crucial in making sure Council decisions reflect what you want. SA Councils spend millions of dollars of public funds each year and look after billions of dollars of community infrastructure (such as roads, parks, sporting facilities and libraries). Councils speak up for your interests so if you don't vote then Council members may not reflect your interests as well as if you do.
The rules are set out in laws made by the SA Parliament: The Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 which can be viewed by clicking here. (link: http://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/C/A/Local%20Government%20(Elections)%20Act%201999.aspx)
Refer in particular to Electoral Material Sections 27 & 28 and Illegal Practices Sections 57-66.
Votes are counted using the Proportional Representation (PR) method - more information about PR can be found by clicking here. (link: http://www.ecsa.sa.gov.au/voting/voting-systems/proportional-representation)