Enrolment – frequently asked questions

Updated: 15 July 2021

Yes it is compulsory for all Australian citizens who have turned 18 and have lived at their residential address for a period of one month, to enrol and maintain their enrolment.

While the AEC uses accessible polling places wherever possible, if you find it difficult to get to a polling place on election day, you can apply to become a General Postal Voter to receive your ballot papers in the mail. The AEC also provides mobile polling to some hospitals and nursing homes.

If you have a physical disability that prevents you from writing, someone else may complete and sign an enrolment form for persons unable to sign their name on your behalf.

Some people may also require additional support to enrol and vote, such as people with an intellectual, cognitive or psychosocial disability. The AEC provides a range of ‘Easy read guides’ for people who have difficulty reading and understanding written information.

You will not be fined for not enrolling in the past.

People in the early stages of dementia, who are still capable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting, may be able to continue to enrol and vote. You should speak with the person and with their doctor to determine if they maintain the capacity to understand the voting process.

Where people may require additional support to enrol and vote, the AEC provides a range of ‘Easy read guides’ for people who have difficulty reading and understanding written information.

If your relative has dementia and they are no longer capable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting, you will need to complete the Objection claim that an elector should not be enrolled form to remove their name from the electoral roll. The medical certificate on the form must be completed and signed by a registered medical practitioner. Once the form is completed please return it to the AEC.

As your enrolled address determines the electorate that you are entitled to vote in, legislation requires that you can only be enrolled at one address.

If you are absent from your enrolled address for a period of time but have an intention to return to that address to live, you do not need to update your enrolment. This includes if you intend to rebuild your house in the event of a disaster. If you wish to update your postal address while you are temporarily absent, you can advise the AEC in writing and there is no need to complete an enrolment form. In the event your temporary accommodation becomes a more permanent arrangement, you must update your enrolment.

In times of natural disaster we will seek to minimise the administrative burden for people affected. While a very minor issue relative to the circumstances of a natural disaster, in these circumstances the AEC has a policy of not mailing to areas affected, including not sending any letters objecting to enrolments or direct enrolments to those addresses. If/when possible, you should notify the AEC of your absence from your enrolled address.

Some degree of permanence, or continuity of living at the address is a vital legal requirement before you should change your enrolment. When you fill in an enrolment form, you are making a declaration that you are eligible for enrolment at the address you have put on the form, and that all the information on the form is correct. Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence under section 137.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

As your enrolled address determines the electorate that you are entitled to vote in, legislation requires that you can only be enrolled at one address.

Enrolment information and forms are also available for people who are homeless or have no fixed residential address.

Yes. Electoral laws provide for the AEC to directly enrol or update your address on the electoral roll based on information received from other government agencies.

The AEC has a series of comprehensive checks in place to confirm if you are eligible to enrol and that you live at a particular address. This process will not affect everyone and it remains your responsibility to enrol to vote and keep your enrolment details up-to-date.

There are very limited circumstances in which a person’s name may be removed from the roll. This includes when information received by the AEC indicates a person no longer lives at their enrolled address or that an enrolled person is now deceased.

Information regarding a person who is deceased is provided to the AEC by relevant Births, Deaths and Marriages registries. Family and friends may also complete a notification of a relative who has died form.

If the AEC receives information that suggests a person should not be enrolled at a particular address we must write to the person before taking any action in relation to their enrolment. If no response is received we may then remove the person from the roll. This information may come from other government agencies.

An elector who is currently enrolled may also object to another person’s enrolment if they believe that person is not entitled to be enrolled. There are special enrolment provisions to assist people in certain circumstances to maintain their enrolment.

The electoral roll is not available for sale in any format. Under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the electoral roll (containing names and addresses):

  • is supplied to prescribed authorities, such as members of parliament, political parties, approved medical researchers, and public health programs
  • is used to maintain state and territory electoral rolls as part of joint roll arrangements with these electoral bodies
  • must be made available to members of the public at any AEC office during ordinary office hours.

In line with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the AEC may provide the name, address and gender of electors to prescribed authorities.

The AEC does not disclose the contact details of electors. The AEC has no knowledge of where or how a registered political party obtains telephone numbers of electors.

The AEC is required under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to provide electoral roll information to a number of persons and organisations including members of parliament, political parties, approved medical researchers, public health programs, electoral researchers and some companies who provide identity verification services.

A list of the current companies who are entitled to receive roll information for identity verification purposes is set out in Regulation 8 of the Electoral and Referendum Regulation 2016. These companies receive a full copy of the public version of the electoral roll. Where another company or business uses the services of these listed companies, the only information that is disclosed is to confirm or reject that the name and address information corresponds with a real person who can be identified from a range of databases. Accordingly the actual business that made the inquiry will only receive the information about specific individuals who have chosen to provide their information to that business for identity verification. Those businesses do not actually receive the roll data itself or any information about people who do not have a relationship with them.

The information provided to the identity verification companies listed in regulation 8 (referenced above) is limited to the elector’s name and enrolled address. No other personal information is disclosed by the AEC.

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