Voting is a way to have a say in lots of things that affect you, your friends, your family and your community. But before you can vote, you need to enrol.
Topics on this page include:
How to enrol
Enrolling to vote is easy. You just enrol online or fill in an enrolment form.
You can enrol either through the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), who manage State elections in Victoria, or the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), who manage Federal elections in Australia.
During this current Federal election the VEC is advising people to enrol through the AEC. Once you've completed either an AEC enrolment form, you're enrolled to vote in both Federal and state elections. You're also enrolled to vote in local council elections.
To be able to vote in an election you need to be enrolled by a certain date before that election happens. This date is called the "close of rolls date". The close of rolls date for the current Federal Election is 8pm 23 May 2016.
If you don't enrol before 23 May 2016 you can't vote in the Federal election that's happening on 2 July 2016.
Note that if you're 18 or over, you're legally expected to vote, but since you can't vote unless you're enrolled, not enrolling to vote could mean you get fined for not voting.
Basically you should enrol as soon as you're eligible, so you can vote as soon as you're legally required to (and so you can avoid being fined).
To enrol online, just head over to the Australian Electoral Commission's Enrol to vote page.
Remember: once you've enrolled, you're eligible (and legally required) to vote in all future elections whether they're Federal, state or local council elections.
Note that it's possible to enrol through the VEC, but during this Federal election the VEC is advising people to either enrol or check their enrolment through the AEC.
Where to get an enrolment form
If you prefer to enrol using a form instead of enrolling online, you can:
- Download one from the AEC website
- Pick one up at a Post Office or Australia Post outlet
- Pick one up at a Medicare, Centrelink or Australian Taxation Office outlet
- Pick one up at any AEC office
- Contact the AEC on 13 23 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to send one to you
When you get your enrolment form from the AEC, make sure you use the right one - there's a different form for each Australian state and territory.
All enrolment forms have instructions on how to complete them.
Note that, while you can get an enrolment form from the Victorian Election Commission, they are advising that for this election you should enrol or check your enrolment through the AEC.
How to get your enrolment form witnessed
If you're enrolling for the first time using a form, once your enrolment form is complete, before you send it in you need to print it out, sign it by hand and make sure it's been witnessed.
Instructions about who can witness your form are included on the form, but anyone can be a witness if they're already enrolled to vote.
Where to send your enrolment form
You can return your completed, signed and witnessed AEC enrolment form by:
- Scanning it and uploading it using the AEC upload tool
- Handing it in to or faxing it to your local AEC office
- Mailing it to: Australian Electoral Commission, Reply Paid 9867, Melbourne, 8001 (no stamp is needed if you post it in Australia)
Your enrolment form needs to be received by the close of rolls date, so if you plan on posting it, make sure you allow time for it to arrive.
When you can enrol
You can enrol to vote when you turn 17, but you can't vote until you are 18.
Do I have to enrol?
If you're an Australian citizen aged 18 years or over it's compulsory to enrol to vote, and compulsory to vote in Federal and State elections.
In addition to that, it's compulsory to enrol to vote - and to actually vote - in both Victorian local council and Victorian state elections if:
- You're 18 or over
- You live in Victoria
- You've lived at your current address in Victoria for at least one month
If you haven't enrolled to vote, you aren't allowed to vote in any elections in Australia, but you still could also be fined for failing to vote.
What if my address changes?
If your address changes, you need to fill out a new enrolment form to make sure you're registered to vote for the election candidates in the electorate where you live. Otherwise you may have to vote for a canditate in a place you don't actually live.
Our Check or change your enrolment page has more about changing your enrolment details.
Do I have to enrol for local council elections?
When you enrol for State and Federal elections, you’re automatically enrolled for the local council that matches your enrolment address. If you're the first or second named ratepayer on a property, you will also be automatically enrolled for that council.
You can only vote in local council elections that match your current address, or the address of any property you are the main ratepayer for. You can't vote in more than one local council election, though.
For more about local council elections, check out our Vote in a local council election page.
Victorian Electoral Commission
The VEC is the organisation that conducts Victorian State elections and local council elections in Victoria, as well as some other kinds of elections.
Australian Electoral Commission
The AEC is the organisations responsible for conducting federal elections and referendums.