Voting in a State Election

How to vote

When voting at a State general election you will receive two ballot papers – a small one for the Legislative Assembly and a larger one for the Legislative Council. 

How to Mark Your Legislative Assembly Ballot

On the Legislative Assembly ballot paper, you must fill in all the squares.

1. Clearly write the number '1' in the square next to the candidate or party of your first choice.

2. Write number '2' in the square next to the candidate or party of your second choice.

3. Continue to number all the squares until there is a different number in every square in the order of preference.

How to Mark Your Legislative Council Ballot

For the Legislative Council ballot paper you have a choice. You can vote by marking your ballot paper either above the thick horizontal line or below the line, but not both.

Either: Above-the-line

If you choose to vote above-the-line, write the number '1' in one of the squares to indicate your first preference according to the political party or group, of your choice. You have the option of showing further preferences numbering as many squares as you wish from '2' onwards. Your preferences will be distributed exactly as you have chosen. Do not mark any squares below-the-line.

Or: Below-the-line

If you choose to vote below-the-line (candidate preference vote), write the numbers '1' to '20' in the squares next to the candidates, in order of your preference. You have the option to mark further preferences if you want to, by writing more numbers in other squares, starting from number '21'. You may fill in as many squares as you choose. Your preferences will be distributed exactly as you have chosen. Do not mark any squares above-the-line.

Informal votes

Ballot papers are informal if they:

  • are blank;
  • do not show preferences according to instructions or legislative requirements;
  • do not make the voter's intention clear;
  • are marked in a way which identifies the voter.

Informal ballot papers do not contribute to the election of a candidate and are not included in calculating the quota or the absolute majority required for election.

If a ballot paper is not marked correctly but gives a clear indication of the voter's intention as to the order of preferences the ballot paper may be formal. It is the Returning Officer's responsibility to decide whether the elector has sufficiently shown his or her intention, and whether a ballot paper is formal or informal.


Visiting a polling place

Polling places are established in open and public places, often schools and community halls. When you approach the polling place, election campaign workers will often be handing out how-to-vote cards for their candidates. These cards show the party, group or candidate's suggested preferences that support their interests. You do not have to follow or take a How -To-Vote card into a polling place.

When you arrive at a polling place you should make yourself known to the Queue Controller or an Issuing Officer. They will then direct you where to go based on the type of vote you need to lodge.

Ordinary vote
For electors voting within their electoral district.

Absent vote
For electors voting outside their electoral district. Electors will be assisted by officers to establish which district they are enrolled in before being issued with papers for their district and whole of State electorate. 

Provisional vote 
For electors who cannot be found on the roll, but believe they are entitled to vote, or have had their eligibility to vote questioned by a scrutineer. Electors sign a declaration before receiving their ballot papers, and their eligibility will be verified prior to the ballot papers being included in the count.

Enrolling and voting during polling

Electors who are not on the electoral roll have the opportunity to enrol on the day that they cast their vote. Electors will be given a provisional vote and will need to provide identification information. Then their enrolment will be processed prior to the ballot papers being included in the count.

Voting process

Upon entering the polling place you will be directed to see an Officer.

The Officer will ask if you have voted before in the election, for your full name, and your address.

The Officer will then:

  • look up your name on the electoral roll
  • mark you off to ensure that you only vote once. If your name cannot be found you will be directed to another official regarding a provisional or absent declaration vote
  • issue you two ballot papers, one for your Legislative Assembly district and one for the Legislative Council electorate.

When casting your vote:

  • proceed alone to a vacant voting screen
  • read the instructions on the ballot paper
  • complete the ballot papers as instructed
  • fold the ballot paper to conceal your vote
  • put each ballot paper separately in the appropriate ballot box.


Seeking assistance

It is the right of every elector to cast their vote in an environment which provides for a secret and independent ballot.

However, you may seek assistance at any time from a polling official. If you do not understand the process, are unable to or have difficulty writing or need any other assistance, ask the Presiding Officer.