Factbox: Ways to vote

Under the Australian voting system, there are many different ways electors can cast their votes.

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The simplest way is at a polling station on election day in the voter’s home electorate.

This is called an Ordinary Vote and is the method used by a majority of voters.

In the 2010 election about 84 per cent of voters used this method of voting.

If voters knows they are going to be out of their home electorate on election day, there are a number of different arrangements they can make beforehand, in order to be able to cast their vote.

If electors are still within their home state or territory but outside their home electorate on election day, they can make an Absentee Vote at a polling station in a different electorate.

In the case of voters who will not be within their home state or territory on election day, or who are seriously ill, infirm, unable to leave work, or unable to attend a polling place for religious reasons, there is the option of an Early Vote before election day.

There are two ways to cast an Early Vote.

First, a voter can attend an Early Voting Centre in the two weeks before election day and make a Pre-Poll Vote.

Alternatively, an elector can apply for a Postal Vote using the “Application for a Postal Vote” form which can be downloaded from the Australian Electoral Commission website.

The Commission will then send out the ballot papers to the voter.

A Postal Vote must be cast before election day by post.

If electors are going to be out of their home state or territory on election day but want to vote on election day, they can cast an Interstate Vote at a special designated interstate voting centre.

If voters are overseas on election day, they can choose to either vote in person at most Australian diplomatic missions, or they can apply for a Postal Vote.

The list of overseas places where they can vote is available on the AEC website in the section for Overseas Electors.

In the case where voters’ names cannot be found on the electoral roll, or their name has already been marked off the roll, they can cast a Provisional Vote.

This type of vote will not be counted until electoral commission officers are able to check enrolment records.

Some Australian voters who are not able to get to a polling station on election day, may have the option of casting a Mobile Polling Vote.

The Electoral Commission has mobile polling teams who set up portable polling places in some hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and remote areas of the country.

This method of voting can take place before or on election day.


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