Everyone who is an Australian citizen and is aged over 18 has the right to vote. Australia is a democracy, which means that its citizens have a say in who makes up the government.

When you exercise your right to vote, you have a say in how Australia as a country, or each of its states and territories, or how your local council is run. In this blog, we break down the facts around your right to vote.

#1 Voting is done at elections

One of the ways citizens can have their say is by voting in federal, state, or local elections. Federal elections are about the whole of Australia. State elections are about the state you live in (like New South Wales or Victoria). Local elections are about your local area (like North Sydney or Preston). When you vote in an election, you fill out a form to show which local candidate or political party you think will do the best job. The candidate or party that gets the most votes is the winner.

#2 There is a law about who can and can’t vote

The Electoral Roll is a list of everyone in Australia who can vote. The law says you must enrol to be on the Roll and vote if you are an Australian citizen and aged over 18 years. There is an old-fashioned part of the law that has been used to stop some people with intellectual or psychosocial disability from voting, but advocates are working hard to change this.

#3 How to check if you are on the Electoral Roll

It is easy to see if you are on the Electoral Roll. You can do it online. Visit check.aec.gov.au and enter the details it asks you for: your given names, family name, postcode, suburb or locality, and street name. There is also a verification code to enter. You can ask a support worker to help you fill out the online form.

#4 How to apply to be on the Electoral Roll

You can put your name on the Electoral Roll when you turn 18. Once you’re on the Roll, you must vote. If you don’t vote, you might have to pay a fine. If you have been stopped from being on the Roll, you can apply to vote again by filling out a new enrolment form and getting your doctor to give you a certificate saying you understand voting.

#5 You can vote in person at a polling booth, or from home by post

If you can vote in person, you will need to visit a polling booth (the place where voting happens) on election day. If you can’t get to a polling booth, you can apply to do a postal vote. If you choose this option, the Australian Electoral Commission or the electoral commission for your state will post voting forms to you. You will need someone to be a witness for you. It is also okay to get someone to help you fill out the form. There is a reply paid envelope to put the form into, then you put it in the post box.

Afford supports your right to vote.

To learn more about voting and your rights, talk to your support worker or visit the Australian Electoral Commission’s Easy Read information at: aec.gov.au

This story is from the February edition of Afford News. Click here to read more.

Was this page helpful?

Is there anything missing on this page? Please let us know

Is there anything missing on this page? Please let us know

Skip to content