Australian Electoral Commission

Voting in the Senate

Updated: 28 June 2016

Voting rules for the Senate have changed – this federal election you’ll have new ways to decide your preferences on your white Senate ballot paper.

You need to either:

  • number at least six boxes above the line for the parties or groups of your choice, or
  • number at least 12 boxes below the line for individual candidates of your choice.

Voting is different this federal election

Above the line

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.

Above the line

Sample ballot paper

Below the line

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.

Below the line

Sample ballot paper

Frequently asked questions