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New migrants encouraged to have their say

LGA President Councillor Sue Clearihan has encouraged new migrants to get involved in their local community by enrolling to vote in the November council elections by this Friday 10 August.

Councillor Clearihan said many people are unaware of the significant differences between council elections and state and federal elections which mean that voting is open to a much wider range of people.

“Everyone who is on the State electoral roll is automatically registered to vote in their council election,” said Councillor Clearihan

“However, unlike state and federal elections, people who don’t hold Australian citizenship are also eligible to vote in council elections as long as they are over 18 and have lived in their council area for more than one month.”

“Local business operators and people who own property in a council area are also eligible.”

Councillor Clearihan said migrants make vital contributions to communities, and that council elections are an opportunity for new residents to get involved in grass-roots democracy.

“Many new arrivals are passionate about their life in Australia, and with councils being the closest level of government to the community, getting involved in the election is a way for them to express their views,” Councillor Clearihan said.

Voting in council elections takes place via postal ballot and is not mandatory, but is the largest voluntary participation activity in the state.

In order to receive a postal voting pack non-Australian citizens, businesses and landlords must register on the council supplementary roll.

Enrolment on the supplementary roll for the 2018 council elections closes 5pm Friday 10 August.

Under the Local Government (Elections) Act, the supplementary voters roll is purged every four years on 1 January in an election year (with the exception of the City of Adelaide), meaning that eligible parties need to re-enrol each election. For more information and enrolment forms visit www.lga.sa.gov.au/councilelections  

Councillor Clearihan said she is also keen to see a larger – and more diverse – field of candidates in this year’s council elections. Nominations open 4 September and close 12 noon 18 September.

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