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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:

Check your enrolment details

Visit the AEC website to check your enrolment online, change your address or change your name.

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:

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.

More information

Local and state government elections: contact the Electoral Commission Queensland on 1300 881 665 or by email.

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.

Intellectual disability and enrolment

If you have a family member who is turning 18 and is not able to understand the nature and significance of voting due to an intellectual disability, please contact the AEC to discuss their enrolment.

If a family member is already on the electoral roll, they can be removed if a registered medical practitioner certifies in writing that they are incapable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting because of an intellectual disability. Contact the AEC to request a 'Claim that an elector should not be on the electoral roll' form (not available online)

Braille ballot papers

The ECQ introduced Braille ballot papers at the previous state election, held in 2009. This year's state election will once again offer Braille ballot papers for people who are blind or vision impaired. Call Graeme Kinnear at the Electoral Commission Queensland on 07 3035 8078 for more information, or send an email.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
14 January 2013

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