The Australian electoral system enables electors to cast a number of different types of votes, depending on their circumstances.
By offering a range of ways in which people can cast their vote, the system aims to ensure that voting is accessible and not difficult.
Australian voters are able to cast one of 4 types of votes:
Ordinary vote: a vote cast in the elector’s home division on polling day.
Absent vote: a vote cast by an elector out of their home division but still within their home State of Territory on polling day.
Pre-poll or Postal vote: a vote cast before polling day at a pre-poll voting centre or by post. This includes overseas voting. These votes can be cast by electors who will not be within their home State or Territory on polling day, are seriously ill, infirm, unable to leave work, or, for religious reasons, are unable to attend a polling place.
Provisional vote: a vote cast in circumstances where an elector’s name cannot be found on the roll or the name has already been marked off the roll. The vote cannot be counted until a careful check of enrolment records and entitlements has been made.
Electors making a postal, pre-poll, absent or provisional vote must complete a declaration giving their personal details.
Any absent, pre-poll or provisional vote is sealed in a separate envelope within an outer envelope. The elector signs the outer envelope. Returning Officers are required to open the sealed envelopes in such a way as to conceal the identity of the voter.