When & where to vote

When to vote

Most people in Australia vote on election day. Election day is always held on a Saturday, and voting is open between 8am and 6pm on that day.

If you cannot vote on election day, you can vote earlier in person or by mail 
(a postal vote).

Once a federal election is announced, the AEC will advertise the election date, 
as well as the dates and times available for early voting. Visit www.aec.gov.au or 
call 13 23 26 after an election is announced to find out more information.

Where to vote

You can vote:

  • On election day – at a polling place near your house. Polling places are usually public buildings, such as schools, churches or halls. To find out what polling places are available you should visit www.aec.gov.au or call 13 23 26 close to the election day.
  • Before election day – at an early voting centre OR by postal vote. Times and places to vote at an early voting centre will be published by the AEC soon after an election is announced. Visit www.aec.gov.au or call 13 23 26 to find out what options are available.

What happens at the polling booth or early voting centre?

Outside the polling booth or early voting centre, you may see candidates and/or volunteers helping the candidates. They may offer you a piece of paper called a ‘how-to-vote’ card. This shows how they would like you to vote.

You do not need to take the how-to-vote card. It can help you decide how to vote if you agree with candidate’s policies. However, you can still vote for the candidate and rank the other candidates in a different order to what the how-to-vote card suggests.

Inside the polling booth, you will see an election official at a table with a list of names. You need to check in with the election official.

The election official will ask your name, your address, and if you have already voted in the election. The election official will give you two ballot papers and will point you to where you should vote.

You will vote at cardboard voting booths. The booths have screens, so no one else can see how you vote. The booths have pencils that you can use to mark your vote, but you can also use your own pencil or pen.

If you need help to fill out the election ballot papers, you can take a support person or friend with you. The election official can also help you. This helper should not tell you who to vote for, and should not tell anyone how you voted.

What if you will be overseas or interstate on election day?

If you will be travelling during election day (either within Australia or overseas), 
you can either:

  • Vote ahead of time at an early voting centre or by postal vote

Or vote at:

  • An Australian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in the country that you will be in (if you are overseas)
  • An interstate voting centre (if you are in Australia)

The AEC will publish information about the polling places where you can vote overseas and interstate in the lead up to an election.

You can also call the AEC on 13 23 26 or the relevant Embassy to find out more information.