How to vote in the Victorian State election

You will be given two ballot papers:

  • The smaller ballot paper is for the Legislative Assembly (Lower House)

  • The larger ballot paper is for the Legislative Council (Upper House)


Legislative Assembly

You will vote for the Member representing the electorate for where you live. One of 88 in Victoria.

Elections are decided by a method called preferential counting. Voters rank the candidates from their most preferred (first choice) to their least preferred. To be elected, a candidate must be preferred by the majority of voters after all other candidates are eliminated.

source: Victorian Electoral Commission (vec.vic.gov.au)

The preferential voting system means that if you vote for a less popular candidate or a smaller party as your first preference, and they do not win, your vote will still be counted towards electing your member. Find more information about the preferential voting system on this poster.

To vote correctly on the smaller Lower House ballot paper, you need to number every box in the order of your choice.

  1. Write the number 1 in the box next to the candidate who is your first choice.
  2. Write the number 2 in the box next the candidate who is your second choice.
  3. Continue writing the numbers 3, 4, 5 and so on until you have a number in every box.

Legislative Council

Elections are decided by a method called proportional representation. You will be voting for the 5 members from the region you live in. To be elected, a candidate must receive a certain proportion of the votes for a region, this proportion is called a quota.

If a candidate gets a quota or more, they will be elected. If they do not meet this quota on first preference votes alone, they may get a quota from preferential votes distributed from the candidates with less first preference votes who are eliminated. This process continues into all vacant positions are filled.

Find more information about the proportional representation system on this poster.

source: Victorian Electoral Commission (vec.vic.gov.au)

You can vote above-the-line or below-the-line but not both.

If you choose to vote above the line:

  • Write the number 1 in the box next to the group of your choice.
  • Leave the rest of the ballot paper blank.
  • Do not write any numbers below the line.

If you vote above the line, your preferences will be decided by the group voting ticket(s) registered by the group you’ve chosen. A group voting ticket is a statement on how each group gives preferences to other candidates. A group must register at least 1 group voting ticket but can register up to 3 group voting tickets.

If you choose to vote below the line:

  • Write the number 1 in the box next to the candidate who is your first choice.
  • Write the number 2 in the box next the candidate who is your second choice.
  • Continue writing the numbers 3, 4, 5 and so on until you have numbered at least 5 boxes.
  • Do not write any numbers above the line.

You can continue numbering more than 5 candidates, but for your vote to be counted, you must number at least 5 boxes.

By voting below the line, you decide your preferences directly.

Informal votes

A ballot paper that has not been filled out correctly is known as an informal vote. Informal votes cannot be counted toward the election result.

A ballot paper can be considered informal when someone:

  • puts ticks, crosses, or any other symbol in the boxes
  • does not number enough boxes
  • misses or repeats numbers
  • leaves the ballot paper blank.
source: VEC (vec.vic.gov.au)

Making a mistake

It is okay if make a mistake on your ballot paper. You can cross it out and put the correct number next to it.

If you are worried the VEC will not be able to understand your corrections, you can return your ballot paper to the VEC election staff and ask for a new one.

If you damage or tear your ballot paper, you can return it to the election staff and ask for a new one.

You can also ask for help to fill out your ballot paper.

Your vote is your choice alone

It is important to know that only you can decide who you vote for. Other people can suggest who to vote for but cannot force you to vote how they want. While your name will be checked against a roll before you vote, your vote is anonymous and secret after you cast it.

It is your choice if you want to tell other people whom you voted for. No one can force you to tell them, not even government officials. If you feel unsafe or pressured, it is not illegal to lie about who you voted for and no one will ever be able to find out because your vote is secret.