Australian Electoral Commission

A guide to enrolling and voting

Updated: 11 May 2016

As an Australian citizen aged 18 years of age or older, you have a right and a responsibility to enrol and vote in federal elections.

Enrolment and voting is compulsory. If you don't vote, you may be fined.

How do we help?

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is responsible for maintaining the Commonwealth electoral roll and conducting federal elections, by-elections and referendums.


Before you can vote, your name must be on the electoral roll. The electoral roll is a list of all eligible citizens who are registered to vote in federal elections and referendums.

Can I enrol?

You are required by law to enrol if you:

  • are 18 years of age or older
  • are an Australian citizen, and
  • have lived at your current address for at least a month.

If you are 16 or 17, you can enrol now so when you turn 18 you'll be ready to vote.

How do I enrol?

You can enrol online.

You can also visit any AEC office or Australia Post outlet for an enrolment application.

I'm not sure if I'm enrolled

You can check your enrolment online.

If I change my address/name what do I do?

Every time you move or change your name, you need to update your enrolment with your new details. You can change your details online. You can also visit any AEC office or Australia Post outlet for an enrolment application.

If I go overseas what should I do?

If you go overseas to work or live you should let the AEC know. If you are overseas when a federal election or referendum is announced you should also let the AEC know.

If you don't, your name could be removed from the electoral roll and you could miss out on your vote in upcoming elections.


A federal election is held at least once every three years and election day is always on a Saturday. When and where you vote depends on where you will be on election day.

On election day

You can vote at any polling place in your home state or territory. Polling places open at 8am and close at 6pm sharp.

If you are in another state or territory and you haven't voted early, you will need to vote at an interstate voting centre.

A list of polling places and interstate voting centres will be available on this website a few weeks before election day.

If you can't make it to a polling place on election day, you can vote early.

Other options

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

  • are outside the electoral division 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.

Early voting centres are open in the weeks leading up to election day and their locations and opening times will be available on this website.

To vote by post you can apply online or pick up a postal vote application from any Australia Post outlet or AEC office. The AEC will mail out your postal voting pack after the candidates for the election have been finalised.

Making your vote count

At a federal election, you are voting to elect people to represent you in the two houses of the Australian Parliament the House of Representatives and the Senate.

You will receive two ballot papers:

  • a green one to vote for a representative of your local area (or electoral division) in the House of Representatives, and
  • a white one to vote for a representative of your state or territory in the Senate.

Instructions on how to vote are printed on the ballot papers. If you make a mistake or you are unsure what to do just ask a polling official for help.

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment contact us through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 and ask for 13 23 26.
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 and quote 13 23 26.
  • Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 13 23 26.