Community and commercial elections

The Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA) was founded in 1907 and is the statutory independent agency responsible for conducting state and council elections in South Australia.

In addition to state and council elections, ECSA also conducts many elections each year by request for community organisations, boards, and private companies, under section 8(2)(b) of the Electoral Act 1985

In the past year we have organised elections with as little as 20 eligible electors up to elections with more than 200,000 electors.

What sort of elections does ECSA offer?

ECSA offers two types of elections for community and commercial organisations: postal elections and attendance elections.

Postal elections are our most popular type of election and involve ECSA mailing a voting pack to every eligible elector. The voting pack will usually contain ballot paper/s, a declaration envelope, a reply-paid envelope, candidate profiles and any other material you request such as a letter, flyer or instruction brochure. The advantages of postal voting include maximum accessibility and convenience for voters.

Attendance elections are similar to how most people vote at state or federal elections. Voters turn up in person to a designated polling place at a location of your choice, which can include the ECSA office at Light Square, Adelaide. Voters are marked off an electoral roll (a list of eligible electors supplied by you) and then handed ballot paper/s, which they take to a voting compartment to complete and then deposit in a ballot box.

Does ECSA offer an online voting option?

No. ECSA is investigating an online voting system and will introduce one in future when we have full confidence in such a system’s security and privacy protocols. We currently offer postal elections and attendance elections, as discussed above.

Why choose ECSA?

ECSA has conducted elections for 112 years and is the most experienced provider of election services in South Australia. We have a trusted record of electoral integrity and a well-earned reputation for meeting the highest standards of transparency and impartiality. We will bring a level of professionalism and legitimacy to your election that no other provider can offer.

Other benefits of having ECSA run your election include:

  • You will be assigned an experienced Returning Officer who will oversee all aspects of the voting process, ensuring that the independence of the election process is guaranteed.
  • We can free up your organisation from the complex and time-intensive administrative workload involved in running an election.
  • We can handle any volume of enquiries from electors and candidates and will offer fast and helpful assistance.
  • All materials and equipment used in the election will meet best-practice electoral standards.
  • We are able to handle any disputes or complex matters that may arise.
  • We do not financially profit from running your election.

What is the cost?

ECSA runs community and commercial elections on a cost-recovery basis. This means we only charge you what it costs to run the election (such as postage, materials, advertising and staffing costs) and we do not profit off of any election. The cost of an election will depend on a range of factors including which election option you request, and the number of electors involved. To get a sense of potential costs please contact ECSA as discussed below.

In some cases, an election may not be required due to the number of nominations being equal to or less than the number of vacancies available, resulting in the candidates being elected unopposed. If this occurs, the only cost is a minimal charge for the Returning Officer’s time (and any other costs previously negotiated with the organisation, such as advertising).

Can ECSA assist with advertising?

ECSA will usually organise for a public notice to be printed in the newspaper on your behalf advising that the election is taking place, while the organisation will take care of neutrally promoting the election to its electors (such as the close of rolls and encouraging people to vote).

If you want ECSA’s help promoting your election, our experienced marketing and communications team is able to assist on request (on a minimal cost recovery basis).

What are my organisation’s responsibilities with the election?

Once ECSA has agreed to run your election and the rules are confirmed, your only responsibility is to provide us with an official list of eligible electors (people who are entitled to vote in your election) in our required format.

Does my organisation provide the rules for the election?

Most organisations have a pre-existing set of rules for their election. In considering any request for us to run your election ECSA will review the rules you provide and determine if they meet acceptable standards.

If your organisation does not have election rules, or your existing rules do not meet acceptable standards, ECSA is able to provide a set of rules or advise on how your existing rules can be made acceptable.

How can I get more information or request a quote?

To discuss your election requirements with an experienced Senior Electoral Officer, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or phone (08) 7424 7400.

Please note that this is for advice only. If you wish to formally request ECSA run your election you must write to the Electoral Commissioner as per below.

Request ECSA run your election

A request for ECSA to conduct an election must meet the following requirements:

  • be formally submitted in writing on your organisation’s letterhead (text in an email is not sufficient)
  • be addressed to the Electoral Commissioner
  • include your required timeframes (when you want the election to take place)
  • include an estimate of the number of eligible electors involved (how many people will be able to vote in the election)
  • include your organisation’s rules for an election (or advice that you need assistance creating rules)
  • include which election option you wish for (postal election or attendance election)
  • be signed by a person or person/s with the appropriate authority to request an election

Please note that ECSA will not normally assist with an election if the election has already commenced.

You have two options for how to send us a letter of request:

1. Scan and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


2. Mail it to:

Electoral Commissioner
Electoral Commission SA
GPO Box 646 
Adelaide SA 5001