When residents of Dubbo Regional Council head to the polls on September 9, the voting process will be significantly different from previous elections.
The newly-formed DRC local government area (LGA) will be made up of five wards: Dubbo Central, Dubbo South, Dubbo East, Dubbo North and Wellington.
Residents who are enrolled in any given ward are required to elect two people to represent them. Those 10 people who are elected will make up the DRC council.
The system has been implemented as a way of ensuring some smaller communities within the LGA aren’t overlooked.
When it comes to those who choose to stand for council, the ward they nominate for won’t be bound by where they reside.
A NSW Electoral Commission spokesperson said people can nominate for as many wards as they want, but can only officially stand in one and must withdraw their nomination from all others before the closing date.
The election is set down for Saturday, September 9 and candidates can nominate between July 31 and August 9.
Those standing can announce their intention to stand earlier, but won’t officially be candidates until they lodge their nomination with the Electoral Commission.
On voting day, most polling booths with be open for specific wards, with only a handful covering all wards in an LGA. It means people will have to be aware of which polling booths are for their ward.
Pre-polling will be open for two weeks prior to the election, starting on August 28 and it is understood there will be at least two pre-polling locations, most likely in Dubbo and Wellington. Pre-polling booths will service all wards.
Ballot papers will be ward-specific and will list all candidates for that ward.
It is understood voters will be required to vote for a minimum of one candidate.
Some wards may include group tickets, which would result in above the line voting, similar to upper house voting at state and federal elections.
The NSW Electoral Commission is urging Dubbo residents to make sure their name and address is up-to-date so they will be enrolled for the correct ward.