Australian Electoral Commission

Ways to vote

Updated: 4 April 2014

Ordinary vote

An ordinary vote is a vote cast by an elector at a polling place or at an early voting centre within the division for which they are enrolled. This is the simplest way to vote and the method used by the majority of electors.

Absent vote

An absent vote is a vote cast by an elector out of their home division but still within their home state or territory on election day.

Early vote

You can vote early either in person or by post if on election day you:

  • are outside the electorate where you are enrolled to vote
  • are more than 8km from a polling place
  • are travelling
  • are unable to leave your workplace to vote
  • are seriously ill, infirm or due to give birth shortly (or caring for someone who is)
  • are a patient in hospital and can't vote at the hospital
  • have religious beliefs that prevent you from attending a polling place
  • are in prison serving a sentence of less than three years or otherwise detained
  • are a silent elector
  • have a reasonable fear for your safety.

In person

You can vote in person at an early voting centre or any AEC divisional office in the weeks leading to an election.

By post

After an election is announced, you can apply for a postal vote online, or complete a postal vote application form.

Interstate vote on election day

An interstate vote can be cast on election day at interstate voting centres by electors who are not in their home state or territory.

Overseas

For federal elections, electors who are overseas can vote in person at an overseas voting centre (most Australian embassies or missions) or by post.

Provisional vote

A provisional vote is cast in circumstances where an elector's name cannot be found on the roll or the name has already been marked off the roll. The vote cannot be counted until a careful check of enrolment records and entitlements has been made.

Electors making an absent, postal, early (not in own division), interstate or provisional vote must complete a declaration envelope giving their personal details. This will be checked by divisional staff before the votes are counted.

Mobile polling

AEC mobile polling teams visit many electors who are not able to get to a polling place. Mobile polling facilities are set up in some hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and remote areas of Australia. Mobile polling is carried out around Australia prior to election day and on election day.

How to vote if you are blind or have low vision

Voters who are blind or have low vision have the options of:

  • casting a vote over the telephone from any location
  • casting a vote with assistance at any polling place or by post