Voting—what you need to know
Posted 21 February 2012
In Australia, it is compulsory for all eligible people to enrol and vote in any local, state or federal election. To be able to vote, you need to be listed on the electoral roll. Anyone who doesn't vote may be fined, so it is important to understand what is required.
Enrolling to vote
If you are over 18 and an Australian citizen (or were a British subject on a Commonwealth electoral roll as at 25 January 1984) then you must be enrolled to vote.
There are a number of ways that you can enrol:
- Online at the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website
- Download an electoral enrolment form (PDF, 860KB)
- Use a paper enrolment form, which you can get from any Post Office, Australia Post outlet, Medicare, Centrelink, Australian Taxation Office outlet, AEC office or Queensland divisional office. You can also contact AEC who will post you the form.
Check your enrolment details
Voting in a local or state government election
When a local or state government election is called, a voter information letter is sent to all enrolled voters who are registered. This letter contains the voters' enrolment details and a list of polling booth information advising where to vote (including wheelchair access information). There will be no voter information letter available for the 2012 Local Government Quadrennial Election.
The Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) website provides details of all the voting options so that you can work out which is the most suitable for you. Some options that are available to people with disability are:
- pre-poll vote before polling day-vote before polling day if you are unable to attend a polling booth on polling day
- electoral visitor vote-apply (PDF, 101KB) to have an Electoral Officer comes to your home to take your vote
- postal vote-apply (PDF, 101KB) to receive a postal vote if you are unable to attend a polling place on polling day (conditions apply)
- special postal vote-apply (PDF, 1MB) to automatically receive ballot papers to make a postal vote at state elections (if eligible).
Accessibility at polling booths
The ECQ website will provide information on wheelchair accessible polling booths closer to polling day, once a state general election or local government election is called.
Assistance to vote
An ‘Enrol to vote or update your details for persons who are unable to sign their name due to physical incapacity in Queensland' form (PDF, 514KB) allows someone else to complete your enrolment form and sign it on your behalf. Once the form and medical certificate have been completed, return the form to the AEC. You can also choose to register as a general postal voter on this form, which means that your ballot papers will always automatically be sent to your postal address.
If you require assistance to vote while at a polling booth, see a polling official to arrange for a friend, relative or polling official to help.
Federal government elections: contact the Australian Electoral Commission on 13 23 26. If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact the AEC through the National Relay Service:
- TTY users phone 133677 then ask for 132326
- Speak and Listen users phone 1300555727 then ask for 132326
- Internet relay users connect to the National Relay Service then ask for 132326.