How to vote

How a referendum is decided

For a referendum to be passed, and the Constitution to be changed, a double majority is required. A ‘double majority’ means:

  1. An overall majority (more than half) of voters from all states and territories vote yes


  2. a majority (more than half) of voters in a majority of the states vote yes (this means at least four of the six states overall vote yes)

The votes of people living in the ACT, the NT and any of Australia’s external territories count towards the national majority only.

If a ‘double majority’ is not achieved, a referendum cannot change the Australian Constitution.

Enrolling to vote

To vote in a referendum you must be on the AEC’s voter list. This is called the Electoral Roll. If you have enrolled before, you will already be on the voter list for a referendum.

The process for enrolling to vote in a referendum is the same as enrolling for state or federal elections. Learn how to enrol here.

The voting process

When you arrive at the polling place

When you arrive at the polling place, the voting people will look up your name on the list of voters and will help you. To help find your name on the list, you will be asked a few questions:

  1. What is your full name?
    This means your first and last name, or your ‘voting name’.

    There can be confusion between family name and given name/s. If you think that this is likely, and your name is not found on the list, then suggest the voting people reverse your family name and given name when searching the certified list.If your name is still not found on the list, you can still vote. The voting people will tell you what you should do.

  2. Where do you live?
    This means the address you gave when you enrolled to vote.
  3. Have you voted before in this referendum?
    This is asked as you can only vote once in a referendum.

Once you are found on the list and your name is marked off, you will be given your ballot papers with the referendum question on it.

How to vote

When you vote in a referendum, if you approve the change, you write 'YES'; if you do not approve the change, you write 'NO' on the ballot paper.

You can practice writing your vote on the AEC website:

Once you write your answer to the question on the ballot paper, you will put the paper in the voting box or ballot box. This box holds the votes until the AEC is ready to count them.