Postal voting

This information is for referendum purposes only. There are differences between postal voting legislation for state elections, federal elections, and referendums. You are responsible for ensuring you and your staff are aware of referendum legislation and act in accordance with it.

Postal voting allows voters to receive their ballot papers through the mail.

Unless they are already registered as a General Postal Voter, voters who wish to vote by post, and are eligible, must apply for a postal vote via a postal vote application once a writ has been issued for a referendum.

Online applications

The AEC’s preferred method for voters to apply for a postal vote is via the AEC’s online form. Promoting this method ensures that the AEC can receive and process the voter’s application in a timely manner, ensuring that the AEC is aware of their intention to vote through the post from the time the application is lodged.

Third party applications

Third parties are allowed to distribute their own materials with AEC postal voting application (PVA) artwork; however, it must be produced in-line with legislative requirements in the format specified by AEC guidelines.

Third parties must email Voter Services to obtain a copy of the approved PVA artwork.

Printing and distribution requirements

If you wish to distribute postal voting application forms during a referendum, then it is important to:

  1. Ensure that your artwork has been provided to the AEC for review to ensure its suitability with AEC scanning services.
  2. Consider timeframes:
    1. Voters must not sign the declaration on the application until after the writ has been issued for a referendum. As such, postal vote applications should not be distributed before the issue of writ for a referendum.
    2. The late distribution of postal vote applications (i.e. after enrolment closes) limits both the time available to process the PVA and the time available to lodge the postal vote certificate (PVC).
  3. The AEC encourages voters to send paper applications back to the AEC as soon as possible to prevent them from being disenfranchised.
  4. Paper postal vote applications collected by third parties must be sent directly to the AEC Service Provider. The delivery addresses and access details in each state are below:

    If you have any questions please email Voter Services.

Deadline for applications

Applications must be received by the AEC by 6pm (local time) on the Wednesday before referendum voting day. Any applications received after this deadline will be deemed to have been received too late and the AEC will attempt to inform voters of alternative voting options.

Updated: 11 September 2023