Registration as an overseas elector

Registering as an overseas elector ensures that your name is not removed from the electoral roll while you are outside Australia and that you can vote in federal elections and referendums held while you are overseas.

No, it is not compulsory to vote when you are outside Australia but if you don’t vote or apply for a postal vote, your registration and electoral enrolment may be cancelled.

If you are already enrolled, you can register as an overseas elector up to three months before your expected date of departure or within three years after you have left Australia.

Your registration is valid for six years from your date of departure from Australia.

If, after leaving Australia, you find that you will be away for more than six years, you can apply to the AEC to have your registration as an overseas elector extended by one year at a time. You must do this in the three months before your registration is due to expire.

Some states and territories provide for overseas enrolment and/or registration for voting should an election be held while you are away but others do not. Information is available from individual state and territory electoral websites.

There are three options for voting from overseas:

Option 1 — You can register as a general postal voter for federal elections and referendums. You will be sent ballot papers as soon as practicable after the declaration of nominations.

Option 2 — You can vote in person on or before polling day, at an Australian overseas mission which provides full consular services. During an election period a full list of overseas voting locations is available on this website.

Option 3 — If you do not register as a general postal voter and you cannot vote in person, you may apply for a postal vote during a federal election or referendum. Further information will be available during an election period on this website. Arranging a postal vote is your responsibility.

Note: Provisions for voting as an overseas elector for state and territory elections can vary and you can obtain relevant information from the relevant state or territory authority.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is authorised under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (CEA) to collect and verify the information you have been asked to complete on this form. The information provided will assist the AEC to maintain electoral rolls.

The AEC may disclose electoral information to persons or organisations in accordance with the CEA. This may include:

  • access to the publicly available electoral roll (containing names and addresses) which may be inspected at electoral offices. As an eligible overseas elector, your address is not shown on the publicly available electoral roll.
  • state and territory electoral authorities
  • Members of Parliament, Senators, registered political parties, and candidates for the House of Representatives
  • approved medical research and public health screening programs
  • any agencies, persons or organisations prescribed in the Electoral and Referendum Regulation 2016.

For more information on privacy, visit The office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.

Updated: 18 June 2020
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