Australian Electoral Commission

Informal voting

Updated: 17 July 2015

A vote is regarded as informal if the ballot paper has not been completed properly. Informal ballot papers are not counted towards any candidate but are set aside.

According to section 268 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act (1918), 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 Divisional Returning Officer (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
  • the voter has not completed a full preferential vote. There are savings measures to keep formal some ballot papers marked incompletely or incorrectly.

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