Local Government Elections

What are Local Government Elections?

Local government elections are a great way for people to be involved in their local community and are held on the third Saturday in October every two years. This year the Local Government Elections for the Shire of Esperance will be held on Saturday, 21 October 2023 and will be conducted by Postal Vote.

The election will be conducted by using postal voting to encourage the maximum number of electors to participate and will utilise optional preferential voting. 

The 2023 election will be conducted by the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) who appoints a Returning Officer to oversee the election including taking candidate nominations and supervising the count on election night. 

Returning Officer 2023: J Peczka

0497 365 862


Election packages are posted to all electors on the roll and can be returned by mail or hand delivered and placed in a sealed ballot box at the Shire Administration Building, Windich Street, up until 6.00pm on Election Day. The count commences at 6.00pm that same day and the results will be available following completion of the count process, which may take several days.

Following Local Government Election Reforms and a recent review of Wards and Representation, there will be three (3) elections held this year as follows;

  • Rural Ward (two vacancies)
  • Town Ward (three vacancies)
  • Shire President (one vacancy)

Following a recent review of Wards and Representation, an adjustment to these Wards has been approved and will take effect from the 2023 local government elections. The proposed ward boundaries are available here, with the darker green section being those properties which are moving to the Rural Ward.

2023 Key Dates

  • Friday 25 August - Electoral Rolls Close 5pm          
  • Thursday 31 August - Nominations Open                      
  • Thursday 7 September - Nominations Close 4pm SHARP
  • Friday 15 September - Mail out of Election Packages
  • Monday 2 October - Replacement Packages Available
  • Saturday 21 October - Election Day – Poll Closes at 6pm

Hand delivery of packages will be accepted at the Council Office from 8am – 6pm on Election Day. Votes will be counted at the Council Office following the close of Poll at from 6pm on Election Day. The Returning Officer will declare the results once the count process has been completed, which may take several days.

WALGA Prospective Elected Members Webinar - 14 August 2023 - Recording

Owner & Occupier Enrolment - Form 2

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can vote?

You must be a resident, non-resident owner or non-resident occupier of a rateable property within the Shire of Esperance, and on the electoral roll.

How many wards are within the Shire of Esperance?

There are 2 wards – Town and Rural.

The proposed ward boundaries which come into effect at the 2023 local government election are available here, with the darker green section being those properties which are moving to the Rural Ward.

How do I know which ward I am in?

You will find this information on your rate notice, you can search for it on the WAEC website or call the Shire.

How do I know if I am enrolled to vote?

Residents who are enrolled on the WA State electoral roll for an address within the Shire’s boundaries are automatically enrolled on the local government roll. Non-resident owners and non-resident occupiers of rateable property are not automatically enrolled. Enrolments can be checked on the WA Electoral Commission website.

How do I vote?

Postal voting packages are sent to all eligible electors in the Shire of Esperance by the WA Electoral Commission. They contain information about candidates, ballot papers, a reply paid envelope and an information brochure on how to vote. The ballot papers are sent to the Returning Officer and are counted at the Shire offices on Election Day.

Is it compulsory to vote?


Are there any absentee votes?

No, because a postal voting system is used. Absentee Votes are only provided for by Local Governments which operate on a voting-in-person election.

What is optional preferential voting?

Optional preferential voting means that to be elected you need to either achieve a majority of votes in the count for a single vacancy, or a quota of votes where there is more than one vacancy to be filled. As a result, the candidates elected are more representative of the majority of voters.

Full preferential voting requires ballots to be completed by numbering each candidate with 1 being the top preference. Optional preferential voting does not require all boxes to be marked for the vote to be valid, for example if there are 3 candidates and you choose to only mark 2, your vote will still be counted.

Can I vote for the Shire President?

Yes, from 2023 the Shire President position will be popularly elected, meaning that all electors in the district will vote for their preferred candidate.

Can a candidate run for both President and Councillor positions?

Yes, the Shire President election will be counted first and any unsuccessful presidential candidates will then have a chance to become a Councillor, if they have also nominated in one of the Ward elections.

What happens if the candidate i voted for in a Ward election becomes President?

If the candidate you have marked as your first preference in the Town or Rural Ward elections is elected as Shire President, your vote will be included in the count for your next preferred candidate on the ballot.

Can I vote if i live outside the Shire of Esperance, but I own a property within the Shire of Esperance?

Yes – provided you claim enrolment by completing and returning Electoral Form 2 by the closing date.

NOTE: Once you have already made a claim on Electoral Form 2, you do not need to re-apply for future years.

If a property is owned by a company, are Directors eligible to vote on the company's behalf?

Yes – provided the company, which owns or occupies rateable property within the electorate, nominates a director or other person to vote on its behalf. That person (or up to 2 persons nominated) must complete Electoral Form 2 to claim enrolment.

Do I have to be a ratepayer to vote at Council Elections?

No – anyone who is listed on the current State Electoral roll may vote at local government elections in the ward where their address is situated. If you are registered on the electoral roll in another local government district you are still eligible to vote so long as you are registered as an occupier of an Esperance property. In this case you are required to complete Electoral Form 2.

How long is my enrolment on the Council's Owners & Occupiers Roll valid?

If you enrol as an owner of rateable property (this includes nominees of a body corporate which owns a property) then your enrolment remains valid for a long as you continue to own the property. If your property is sold you will automatically be removed from the Owners and Occupiers Roll.

If you enrol as an occupier of rateable property, then your enrolment remains valid for 2 ordinary elections. You are then required to re-apply for another 2 ordinary elections.

If I own more than one property, can I vote more than once?

That depends on whether you own or occupy rateable property in more than one ward. An “election” is deemed to be within a ward. The Shire of Esperance has 2 electoral wards – so will have 2 elections (unless a candidate within a ward is elected unopposed).

If you own or occupy more than one rateable property within one ward (Town or Rural) you are only eligible to vote once for that ward.

For further information, please call 08 9071 0672.


  • Mr Jones lives in Bunbury. He is on the State Electoral Roll for his address in Bunbury. He owns a property in Esperance and as he’s an Australian Citizen he can enrol to vote in the Shire of Esperance elections. He is also eligible to vote in City of Bunbury council elections (via the City of Bunbury’s District Roll).
  • Mr Bloggs lives in the Shire of Esperance and owns 2 properties – one property in each ward. Mr Bloggs is on the State Electoral Roll for the address where he lives in the Town Ward. If he wishes to vote in the Rural Ward where he owns property, he can enrol – using Electoral Form 2.  At election time he will receive 2 election packages – one for each ward.
  • Central Mining Ltd of Perth holds a large rateable mining tenement within the Shire of Esperance’s boundaries. Central Mining Ltd is able to nominate up to 2 persons who are Australian Citizens to vote on the company’s behalf. The company provides a covering letter to “Nominate” the person or persons, and each nominated person must complete the Electoral Form 2.
  • There are four registered owners who co-own a property in the Town Ward of the Shire of Esperance. All owners live and are registered voters in the Rural Ward. They are eligible to nominate 2 co-owners to receive a Town Ward vote for the town property. The nomination must be signed by all or a majority of the co-owners.
  • Mr & Mrs Green have a Super Fund (Greens Family Super Fund Pty Ltd) which is listed as the owner of several properties within both the Town and Rural wards. Mr & Mrs Green are registered in the Town Ward to vote and wish to apply for a Rural Ward vote. As the rural property is under the Greens Family Super Fund Pty Ltd (which only has the Greens as directors) they must nominate each other to be able to enrol for the Rural Ward vote.

Roles of a Councillor

Our Council is made up of nine Elected Members including the Shire President.  The Councillors represent the residents from the two electoral wards of Esperance - Town and Rural. The Councillors are elected by the ratepayers and residents of the district with elections held every two years and each Councillor serving a four year term.

Elected Members play a vital role representing the community and making decisions about what happens within the Shire of Esperance.

While the Chief Executive Officer and staff of the Shire are employed to provide specialised information and advice to the Council and carry out the Council’s decisions, Elected Members are the policy makers and collectively make decisions for the Shire on matters including essential infrastructure such as roads, services such as the library, sport and recreation, the environment, community development and public health and safety.

A person may be eligible to run to be an Elected Member, provided they are 18 years of age or older, are an elector of the district, and are willing to represent the views of the whole community and district, rather than their own personal views.

Could you see yourself as a future Elected Member?

To meet your local Elected Members visit here.

Local Government Election Nominees

The 2023 Shire of Esperance Local Government Election is for six positions, with three elections as follows;

  • Town Ward (three vacancies)
  • Rural Ward (two vacancies)
  • Shire President (one vacancy)

The Shire President position is now elected by the Community rather than from within Council, as it has been in the past.

Candidates are able to nominate to become an Elected Member between 31 August 2023 and 7 September 2023 for this year's election.

Candidates are required to complete the Local Government Candidate Induction prior to nominating which provides a basic understanding of the functions and responsibilities of an Elected Member. All Councillors are required to complete Council Member Essentials training within the first 12 months, unless this has been completed within the past five years.

All Candidates are expected to comply with the Shire's Code of Conduct for Council Members, Committee Members and Candidates which can be found here.

Nominations for the 2023 Shire of Esperance Local Government Elections are as follows:

Shire President:

Ron Chambers

Gemma Johnston

Rural Ward: (Declared 08/09/2023)

Wes Graham

Samantha Starcevich

As there were 2 vacancies and only 2 nominations, the Returning Officer was notified by the WA Electoral Commission that as Wes Graham was drawn first in the ballot draw, he is elected for a 4 year term, with Samantha Starcevich being elected for a 2 year term. This means there will be no need for a Rural Ward election this year and the candidates will be sworn in following the October elections.

Town Ward:

Connor Davies

Manue Daniels

Ron Chambers

Gemma Johnston

Jennifer Obourne

Note: the email listed on Jennifer Obourne's profile is incorrect and should be Jennifer.Obourne@gmail.com