How to vote

Everything you need to know about making your vote count this election day!

Voting is one of our greatest tools to create change in our country and communities. But how does voting actually work, and how do we make sure our vote counts?

House of Representatives

  • When voting for the house of reps you will be given a green slip that lists all the candidates in your area vertically. They will each have a box next to them for you to preference.
  • Preference your most preferred candidate with the number one.
  • You MUST write a number in EVERY box, otherwise your vote won’t be counted.
  • Check out our information on preferential voting to help you make the right vote for you (and the planet!)
A sample House of Representatives ballot

The Senate

  • For the senate you can vote above the line or below the line. Above the line is by party. Below the line allows you to select particular candidates.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the very wide white sheet of paper! You’ll notice that it is divided by a line (hence above or below the line voting).
  • When voting above the line you must preference at least six parties - but you can preference as many as you like. There are a lot of smaller parties that don’t get as much news attention so it’s a good idea to look these up before you go to vote.
  • When voting below the line you must preference at least 12 candidates - but again you can preference that massive white sheet all day if your heart desires.

You can only vote above OR below the line - so what’s the difference?

Below the line gives you the power of choice but involves a bit of extra research. When we vote above the line the parties are able to choose which candidates actually end up in the senate. But when we vote below the line the power is in our hands, baby! But there are a lot of names below the line, so come prepared with your own notes/research if you’re feeling adventurous!

A sample Senate ballot

What if I can't vote on election day?

If you are unable to attend election day there are a few alternatives.

  • You can apply for a postal vote - you will need to apply online before the election, follow the instructions they send you and have another eligible voter ready to witness your vote.
  • You can vote early at select locations - similar to voting on the day but (probably) less busy and you may have to travel a little bit to get there.

On the day

  • Voting opens at 8am
  • You must vote before voting closes at 6pm
  • There will be various party volunteers waiting out the front to give you voting cards. These preferences are OPTIONAL and show you how each party would like you to preference the candidates.
  • There are often queues, so remember to socially distance and bring your mask if that will make you feel safer.
  • What to bring: yourself, proof of identity, water and snacks, money for sausage sizzles or bake sales, and your Project Planet voting plan.

Keep reading

The Major Parties

Liberal and Labor (you might have heard of them) - how did they start and what do they stand for?

Read more

Minor Parties and Independents

As well as the major parties, minor parties and independents will also be seeking our votes in the upcoming election - so who are they and why are they important?

Read more

Australia's Political System

How does our government actually work and who are we electing when we vote on May 21? We break it down.

Read more
Read more

Authorised by E. Hedding, Project Planet Australia Inc, Five Dock