What happens on election day?
There are a few options for what happens on election day, depending on where you live. But for those who haven’t done an early vote (where you vote in the weeks leading up to the polling day) or aren’t voting online (you can check if you’re eligible here), election day can be quite fun! Often at a local community centre, like a school, voting starts by grabbing a Democracy Sausage (mandatory!) before heading in to get your name ticked off. After that, you’ll head into a booth where you can cast your vote.
How do I fill out the ballot?
THE SMALL SHEET (HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES):
When you head to vote on polling day you’ll be handed two sheets, a small green one for the House of Representatives and a large white one for the Senate. Federal elections in Australia use a mandatory preference system, meaning that on the small green sheet you’ll need to number all of the boxes in order of your preference. On the green ballot paper, you need to put a '1' in the box beside the candidate who is your first choice, '2' in the box beside your second choice and so on, until you have numbered every box. You need to number every box for your vote to count.
THE BIG SHEET (SENATE):
In the Senate, you have two options. You can either number at least six boxes for your preferred party or candidate above the line, or vote below the line for individual candidates. If you vote below the line, you need to number at least 12 boxes. If you vote above the line, you need to number at least six boxes from 1 to 6. Place a 1 in the box above the party or group that is your first choice, the number 2 in the box above the party or group that is your second choice and so on until you have numbered at least six boxes above the line. You can continue to place numbers in the order of your choice in as many boxes above the line as you like.
If you vote below the line, you need to number at least 12 boxes from 1 to 12. Place a 1 in the box beside the candidate that is your first choice, and the numbers 2, 3, 4 and so on to at least the number 12. You can continue to place numbers in the order of your choice in as many boxes below the line as you like.
If you're still unsure, you can practice voting here.