To vote in the Federal Election this year, follow this easy to use guide in order to ensure your vote gets counted.
Decide who to vote for.
There are a bazillion (aka 1,625) candidates running in this election so unless you're a flat out politics nerd it's probably a good idea to check out some of the tools available for helping you decide who to vote for. Remember to read up on the minor parties, many of whom have names that sound like one thing but actually represent quite a different issue. We have a handy guide here.
Voting: key tips
(Find a polling booth/sausage sizzle)
1. Make your way to your local polling place on election day (Saturday July 2nd) between 8am and 6pm sharp.
- Normally, voting is done at your local polling place on election day. To find your nearest one in your electorate, head on over to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website and enter your postcode. Alternatively you can find it via Election Sausage Sizzle, which not only lists the polling booths but the excellent food stands that have BBQs, breakfast and cake. Yes!
- If you can’t make it on election day, then you will need to contact the AEC to register for, receive and lodge a postal vote.
- In addition, you can vote early at pre-polling centres which are set up in every electorate before the election, however again look on the AEC’s website if this option suits you.
2. Get your name ticked off at the polling place or pre-polling centre and receive your ballot papers.
Once your get there, you will notice party booth workers handing out how-to-vote cards just before you enter. It is completely up to you whether you wish to approach these people or if you want to take their materials. If you trust a certain party, it can make the process easier.
- Depending on the time of day there might be a queue. Often it can be busy in the mornings but I certainly wouldn’t advise putting it off and reaching your booth at 5.59pm as you may miss out on voting. Seeing as you can never pick people’s Saturday habits, it’s probably a safer bet to go as early as possible.
- Attendants will then direct you to collect your ballot papers. They will ask for your name so they can tick you off the roll. Booth officials will ask you some questions to ensure that you have not previously voted in this election. You will then be directed to a booth to mark your ballot papers.
3. Mark your ballot papers properly and register a valid vote.
When you actually go to vote it often feels like this
So... here's a few key things to keep in mind.
- You’ll be given a small green ballot paper and an insanely large white one.
- The small green ballot paper is for the House of Representatives
- The larger white ballot paper is for the Senate
The instructions will be written on each ballot paper, but to ensure you do the right thing:
Green paper (House of Representatives)
On the green ballot paper, make sure you number each and every box in your order of preference depending on how many candidates there are. So if there are 8 candidates, you will need to assign a preference to all eight.
White paper (Senate)
On the white ballot paper, you will have two options. The first is to vote above the line, the second is to vote below the line. You only need to do one.
- To vote above the line, you will see party logos and boxes for each Party. You need to number at least 6 boxes. However, you can continue to preference more than 6 choices if you want. Again these need to be legible and readable, making sure there is a different number in each box you have marked. Doing this will ensure your vote for the Senate is valid and counted.
- To vote below the line, you will notice names of candidates in rows corresponding to the parties listed above the line. You then need to mark your preferences again by putting a number in a box, but this time you need to preference at least 12 candidates in order for it to count.
For both the green and white papers, each box that you mark needs to be legible and make sure you haven’t assigned the same preference/number to a different candidate. Doing this will ensure your votes are valid and counted. If you make a mistake, see a booth official who will be able to issue you new ballot papers.
4. Posting your Ballot Papers.
- Once you’re done, fold your ballot papers and post them into the corresponding box. Each box will be marked accordingly for both the House of Reps – green ballot paper and the Senate – white ballot paper.
- You’re done! Wasn’t so hard was it? If you’ve done everything right, you’ve made your voice heard at the ballot boxes. Now get your sausage sizzle on and enjoy the rest of your day.