Postal voting

Postal voting allows voters to receive their ballot papers through the mail.

In order to receive a postal vote, voters must either be registered as a General Postal Voter or apply to receive a postal vote (online or via a paper application form) once an election has been announced.

Online applications

The AEC’s preferred method for voters to apply for a postal vote is via the AEC’s online form. Promoting this method ensures that the AEC can receive and process the voter’s application in a timely manner, ensuring that the AEC is aware of their intention to vote through the post from the time the application is lodged.

Third party applications

Political parties and candidates are allowed to distribute their own materials with AEC postal voting application (PVA) artwork; however, it must be produced in-line with legislative requirements in the format specified by AEC guidelines.

Political parties must email Voter Services to obtain a copy of the approved PVA artwork.

This information is for federal election purposes only. There are differences between state and federal postal voting legislation, and you are responsible for ensuring you and your staff are aware of federal legislation and act in accordance with it.

Printing and distribution requirements

If you wish to distribute postal voting application forms during a federal election, then it is important to:

  1. Ensure that your artwork has been provided to the AEC for review to ensure its suitability with AEC scanning services.
  2. Consider timeframes:
    1. Voters must not sign the declaration on the application until the election is announced. As such, postal vote applications should not be distributed any earlier than the official announcement for the federal election.
    2. The late distribution of postal vote applications (i.e. after enrolment closes) limits both the time available to process the PVA and the time available to lodge the postal vote certificate (PVC).
  3. The AEC encourages voters to send paper applications back to the AEC as soon as possible to prevent them from being disenfranchised. Paper applications forms can also be sent to GPO BOX 9988 in each capital city free of charge.
  4. Paper postal vote applications collected by political parties or candidates must be sent directly to the AEC Service Provider – Computershare. The delivery addresses in each state will be published once the election is announced.
    1. Completed applications should be forwarded to Computershare as soon as possible. The AEC is aware of delays in past elections of up to 12 days between the voter submitting a PVA to a third party and the AEC receiving that PVA. Considering the usual postal voting period is only 23 days in total, delays of this type can lead to the voter being disenfranchised.

Deadline for applications

Postal vote applications must be received by the AEC (or our provider, Computershare) by 6pm (local time) on the Wednesday before election day.

However, it is highly preferred that applications be received earlier. Any applications received after this deadline will be deemed to have been received too late and the AEC will attempt to inform voters of alternative voting options.

Updated: 15 December 2021
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