Primary school fact sheet - Enrol to vote

Updated 6 Sep 2016
Enrolment means you can vote in elections.

You give your name and address to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

You can do this online or by filling out a form. The AEC automatically enrols some people. They will write to tell you.

Your name and address will be put on a list of names called the electoral roll.

You cannot vote if your name is not on the electoral roll.

Yes, it is compulsory to enrol if you are:

  • 18 years old or over, and
  • An Australian citizen.

You can enrol early if you are between 16 and 18 years of age.

Yes, you must vote if you are 18 or older.

You cannot vote if you are under 18 even if you have enrolled.

In Australia voting is a civic duty like paying taxes and going to school.

It is your right to choose the people who represent you in parliament.

Compulsory voting means everyone has a say about who is elected.

Alfred Deakin, our second Prime Minister, introduced compulsory voting in Australia.

Introduction of compulsory enrolment and voting laws in Australia
Area Compulsory enrolment Compulsory voting
Australia 1911 1924
Queensland 1914 1914
Victoria 1923 1926
New South Wales 1921 1928
South Australia 2009 1942
Tasmania 1930 1928
Western Australia 1919 1936
Compulsory enrolment and voting started when the new governments were set up in the ACT and Northern Territory.

Indigenous Australians could enrol and vote in federal elections from 1949 but it was not compulsory until 1984.

You can do it online at the AEC website www.aec.gov.au.

You can get a form from any ACT post office. You fill out the form and post it to the AEC.

If you move house or change your name you need to tell the AEC.

Some people will be automatically enrolled by the AEC. They will write to you to let you know.

Yes, you can see the roll at Elections ACT or at Australian Electoral Commission offices.