Enrolment – frequently asked questions

Updated: 9 October 2023


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.

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.

You do not need to notify the AEC when a relative or friend has died.

Information regarding a person who is deceased is provided to the AEC by relevant Births, Deaths and Marriages registries.

You may, however, notify the AEC by completing the Notification of a relative who has died form.

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.

If you are temporarily displaced from your enrolled address due to a natural disaster (e.g., flood or fire), you may still remain enrolled at that address. If you would like to add a temporary postal address to your enrolment record, please use the online enrolment form to update your contact details. Alternatively, you can contact us. Remember to update the temporary postal address once your circumstances have changed.

If a natural disaster has caused you to move residence in what you now consider to be a permanent new arrangement then you should update your enrolment.

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

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.

Section 120 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 allows for certain enrolment decisions to be subject to internal review. In these cases, the letter which notified you of an enrolment decision will also notify you of your rights to request an internal review.

A request for an internal review must be made in writing to the Electoral Commissioner, before the end of 28 days, starting on the day on which you received the letter informing you of the decision.

Applications for review should be sent to your local AEC office. Please ensure that you clearly state you are seeking a review of a decision and include your contact details and any reference numbers that may appear on your letter.

There is no fee payable for requesting an internal review.

Further information can be found under Review Process: Enrolment-related decisions.

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 state 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.

Evidence of identity

The AEC has listened to the feedback from various sectors of the community that not everyone has a driver’s licence or a passport which enable you to enrol online or via the paper form. Online enrolment is now done by more than 80% of electors and it is important that we carefully remove barriers to enrolment while maintaining the integrity of the roll. Medicare cards and Citizenship Certificates are both highly trusted documents that the AEC can verify (Medicare cards through the Australian Government’s Document Verification Service and Citizenship Certificates through direct data feeds with the Department of Home Affairs).

The AEC started investigating the complex technical changes to our enrolment systems in October 2021. We requested funding from the government in the October 2022 budget to finalise this important change and funding was provided.

No. This change is part of a long, continuing journey to make enrolment as accessible as possible for all Australians – including those who do not have a driver’s licence or Australian passport.

Throughout the past decade a range of improvements to the accessibility of enrolment services has seen the Australian electoral roll rise from an estimated 90.9 per cent at the 2010 federal election to a remarkable 97.2 per cent at the end of 2022. This includes the introduction and strengthening of the federal direct enrolment and update program, improvements to the online enrolment processes and changes to the AEC’s community engagement model to encourage enrolment through partnerships and directly with citizens.

Many of the estimated unenrolled cohort of 513,000 people may find enrolment more accessible through the addition of Medicare cards and Citizenship certificates as accepted forms of identification. This change applies to the electoral roll – a roll used for federal and state/territory elections, as well as the Referendum.

If your Medicare card was included in a data breach, you can request a replacement. For more information on steps required to replace a Medicare card, you can contact Services Australia.

The AEC uses the Department of Home Affairs’ Document Verification Service to confirm Medicare card details are valid and the number corresponds with the name of the person enrolling. If a Medicare card has been replaced as a result of a data breach, the original card details cannot be used to enrol.

Every enrolment the AEC performs is subject to comprehensive and exhaustive quality checks before being applied to the electoral roll. The AEC also uses data from other authoritative sources to validate the information we receive from voters – these sources include Births, Deaths and Marriages, Passports, State and Territory Electoral Commissions, address data, and current and previous data from the electoral roll. Enrolment transactions are also subject to additional integrity checks designed to combat fraud and reduce errors on the electoral roll, including data matching with the Australian Tax Office and Services Australia.

Photo identification is not a strict requirement for enrolment and the verification steps built into the enrolment process ensure additional evidence of identity documents do not have a negative impact on the integrity or accuracy of the electoral roll.

It’s important to remember that Australia has reached a remarkable 97 per cent enrolment rate using the existing enrolment methods, and for most voters a driver’s licence or passport number will likely continue to be the proof of identity used when updating their enrolment in future. In addition, voters have been able to enrol by having an enrolled voter confirm their identity for some time.

The expansion of evidence of identity documentation for enrolment is aimed at the 530,000 people who are eligible to enrol, but have not. Over the past few electoral cycles the AEC has had consistent feedback that younger Australians and people living in remote areas of the country and some people living with a disability are less likely to have access to a driver’s licence or passport. The addition of Medicare cards and citizenship certificates as identification documents addresses the issues raised by these potential voters. In addition, the AEC has recently updated the online enrolment form for voters asking an enrolled voter to confirm their identity. Previously, voters were required to print, sign and return a form for this method of enrolment. This process can now be completed entirely online.

Person confirming identity

A person who is currently on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll may confirm the identity of the applicant by providing their details and signing the application on a paper form or providing a signature equivalent for an online application.

The person confirming identity is asked to provide the following information:

  • name,
  • date of birth,
  • address, and
  • signature or equivalent.

A person confirming identity is certifying the identity of the person submitting the application, i.e., that the application has been filled in by the applicant/person making the claim. The person confirming identity is not certifying that all the details provided on the form by the applicant are correct.

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