Updated: 27 October 2017
If you are unable to vote on by-election day you can apply for a postal vote.
Who can apply?
You can apply for a postal vote if you:
- are outside the electorate where you are enrolled to vote
- are more than 8km from a polling place
- are travelling
- can't 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 reasonable fear for your safety.
How to apply
To apply for a postal vote you will need to:
- provide your current enrolment details
- confirm the address you want your ballot paper mailed to, and
- declare you are eligible to apply for a postal vote.
The online system also allows you to track the status of or cancel your postal vote application.
Download a postal vote application form
If you don't wish to complete an online postal vote application, you can download a postal vote application form and return it to the AEC.
Postal vote application forms are also available at AEC offices.
Return your completed application form as soon as possible.
The AEC must receive your application by 6pm on the Wednesday before by-election day for your application to be accepted.
What happens next?
Once you have submitted your application for a postal vote, the AEC will send your ballot paper to the postal address you have provided.
The AEC will start mailing voting papers to postal voters from Monday 13 November 2017, when nominations for candidates have been declared and ballot papers are available.
Submitting your ballot papers
Ballot papers must be completed and witnessed on or before by-election day, and posted back to the AEC as soon as possible.
You only have 13 days after the by-election for your ballot papers to be received by the AEC.
Who can be an authorised witness for a postal vote?
In accordance with s.193 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, an authorised witness for postal voting may be:
- An elector whose name appears on the Electoral Roll
- Outside Australia, the following persons are authorised witnesses:
- an officer of the Defence Force or of the naval, military or air forces of a Commonwealth country,
- a person appointed or engaged under the Public Service Act 1999,
- a member of the civil or public service of a State or Territory or of a Commonwealth country,
- a Justice of the Peace for a State or Territory or a Commonwealth country,
- a minister of religion or medical practitioner resident in a State or Territory or a Commonwealth country,
- an Australian citizen.
Please note: A person who is a candidate for the 2017 New England by-election cannot be an authorised witness.
What if I am a general postal voter or a silent elector?
If you are a registered general postal voter, you will automatically receive a postal vote pack in the mail.
If you are registered as a silent elector, and you are not a general postal voter, you can complete a postal vote application or vote in person at an early voting centre or on by-election day.