Hot Topics 84: Voting and elections

This Hot Topics explains the key features of our electoral laws, who can vote, who can stand for election, and how votes are counted.

About the authors

This online edition of Hot Topics 84: Voting and elections was updated in May 2016 by Professor Rodney Smith. The issue is based on the previous edition, written by Associate Professor Rodney Smith and Senior Research Fellow Dr Anika Gauja, both from the Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney.

Find out more about Hot Topics.

Cover image -hand in ballot box

Elections in Australia

Federal elections - State and territory elections - Timetable of elections - Local government elections

Who can vote

Commonwealth franchise - states and territories - local government councils - history of the franchise

Compulsory enrolment and voting

What if voters don't vote? - other countries with compulsory voting - current enrolment procedures.

Compulsory voting - for and against

Main arguments for and against

Current voting procedures

Procedures at polling booths - absent voting - sight impaired voters - postal voting

Standing for election

Who can stand in federal and state elections - How parties choose candidates - Party registration and funding

Drawing electoral boundaries

Electoral boundaries - Gerrymanders - Malapportionment and 'one vote one value'

How votes are counted

First past the post - preferential voting - optional preferential voting - proportional representation - formal and informal votes

Hot Topics 84: Voting and elections. Hot Topics is intended as an introductory guide only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, the Legal Information Access Centre does not assume responsibility for any errors or omissions. 

© Library Council of New South Wales 2016. Copyright in Hot Topics is owned by the Library Council of New South Wales. Material contained herein may be copied for the non-commercial purpose of study or research, subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

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