If it is intended to distribute electoral material on election day it must be registered with the NSWEC in advance. This registration requirement does not apply to posters.

Any form of electoral material must not be registered if it appears to the Electoral Commissioner that it:

  • does not include the legible name and full address of the person on whose instructions the material was printed; and the name of the printer and full address at which it was printed;
  • does not clearly identify the registered political party, group, candidate or other person/organisation on whose behalf the material is being distributed;
  • could result in an elector casting an informal vote; or
  • contains words that are obscene or offensive.

In addition, if the electoral material contains a representation of a ballot paper or directions on how to vote, then the Electoral Commissioner has to consider a number of other factors to ensure procedural requirements are met. For example that:

  • a political party is correctly registered;
  • the claimed affiliation of candidates with a particular party is accurate;
  • a particular candidate is actually endorsed for a particular District/council area or ward;
  • a registered political party suggests that the highest preferences be given to its candidates;
  • the word ‘Independent’ is not used in connection with the name of a registered political party in a way intended or likely to mislead eg a candidate cannot describe themself as ‘an Independent Liberal candidate’ or ‘an Independent Labor candidate’;
  • a candidate does not use the name, abbreviation or acronym of a registered political party in a way that could mislead any elector eg a candidate supported by an organisation known as the ‘Anti Licensed Premises’ Party would not be able to use ‘ALP’ as this could be confused with the Australian Labor Party;
  • a how-to-vote card showing a ballot paper with the candidates’ names needs to display these names in the order they appear on the actual ballot paper; and
  • no untrue or incorrect statements are made that are likely to mislead or improperly interfere with any elector casting their vote eg ‘unless all squares on the ballot paper are numbered the vote will be informal’. The ‘casting of their vote’ refers to the act of voting itself (ie marking a ballot paper) not the political judgements that motivate the decision as to who to vote for.

No electoral material can be distributed within 6 metres of the entrance to the polling place, and any unregistered material distributed on election day may be confiscated by an election official.

All registered electoral material can be inspected on election day at a Returning Officer’s office by an elector enrolled in the District/council area or any scrutineer.