Electoral Pocketbook 2011 - 3 The electoral process

Updated: 15 June 2011

3.6 Informal voting

A ballot paper is regarded as informal if it is not filled out correctly. These ballot papers are not counted towards any candidate but are set aside.

According to s. 268 of the Act, a vote is informal if:

  • the ballot paper is not marked at all
  • the ballot paper does not have the official mark and has not been initialled by the polling official and the ballot paper is not authentic in the opinion of the DRO
  • the ballot paper has writing on it which identifies the voter
  • in the case of an absent vote, the ballot paper is not contained in the declaration envelope; and
  • the voter has not marked a vote correctly for it to be considered acceptable.
Informal voting at federal elections 1998–2010 (%)
House of Representatives
  1998 2001 2004 2007 2010
NSW 4.0 5.4 6.1 5.0 6.8
Vic. 3.5 4.0 4.1 3.3 4.5
Qld 3.3 4.8 5.2 3.6 5.5
WA 4.2 4.9 5.3 3.9 4.8
SA 4.5 5.5 5.6 3.8 5.5
Tas. 3.1 3.4 3.6 2.9 4.0
ACT 2.9 3.5 3.4 2.3 4.7
NT 4.2 4.6 4.5 3.9 6.2
Australia 3.8 4.8 5.2 4.0 5.6
Senate
  1998 2001 2004 2007 2010
NSW 3.3 3.5 3.5 2.2 4.2
Vic. 3.8 5.6 5.1 3.3 3.9
Qld 3.0 3.0 2.8 2.3 3.5
WA 2.7 3.6 3.5 2.4 3.2
SA 2.8 3.1 3.5 2.4 3.1
Tas. 3.1 3.3 3.4 2.6 3.2
ACT 2.0 2.3 2.5 1.7 2.6
NT 2.0 2.8 3.1 1.9 3.7
Australia 3.2 3.9 3.8 2.5 3.8

Graph showing informal voting at federal elections 1998–2010

Column graph showing informal voting at federal elections from 1998 to 2010