Make sure your vote counts in the 2016 federal election

Updated: 30 June 2016

Australian voters must fill in their ballot papers correctly to ensure their vote counts in Saturday's federal election, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) said today.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said people will be asked to complete two ballot papers, for voting in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

"Your vote is important, so please be careful when filling in each ballot paper," Mr Rogers said.

"Instructions are provided on the top of each ballot paper, but if you make a mistake, just ask a polling official for a replacement ballot paper and start again."

On the green House of Representatives ballot paper, voters must number every box in their order of preference, starting at '1' and continuing until they have consecutively numbered all the boxes.

Voting for the Senate has changed at this election.

Instructions on the white Senate ballot paper indicate that voters have the choice to either:

  • number at least six boxes above the line with a '1' for the party or group of their choice, a '2' for their second choice and so on, or
  • number at least twelve boxes below the line for individual candidates in order of their choice.

"While candidate representatives outside polling places may offer you 'how to vote' cards, the final decision rests with you. It is a secret ballot which means no one will know how you have voted. Polling places open at 8am on Saturday and voting will continue through to 6pm sharp," Mr Rogers said.

"If you can't make it to a polling place on Saturday, early voting is still available today and on Friday up until 6pm at early voting locations around Australia."

Voters can find their local polling place at or by calling 13 23 26.

Voting in the 2016 federal election is compulsory for all enrolled Australians.

Editors' note:

The AEC's federal election media guide and media image library is available at