Electoral information for homelessness agency workers

Updated 29 Apr 2020

All Australian citizens aged 18 years or older are eligible to enrol to vote. Individuals who don’t have access to safe and secure housing can enrol using a ‘no fixed address’ enrolment form. Enrolment for a person experiencing homelessness is not compulsory. Someone who enrols using a ‘no fixed address’ form and does not vote will not be fined.

When you vote in an election, you get to have your say on who you think can best represent your views on the issues affecting you and the community. Voting in an election is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to have your voice heard. Look into what the candidates say about the issues you are interested in and choose who you believe can best represent your views.

Enrolment details can be checked on the Elections ACT website www.elections.act.gov.au or by calling (02) 6205 0033.

The electoral roll for an ACT Legislative Assembly election closes approximately 4 weeks before polling day. Any person, who is not on the roll on or before that date, will not be able to vote in the election.

Enrolment options if you are experiencing homelessness or living in temporary accommodation include:

If your client doesn't have access to safe and secure housing they can enrol as an elector with no fixed address

As an elector with no fixed address, they can enrol for the address where:

  • They were last eligible to be enrolled (generally the place where you last lived for at least one month); or
  • One of their next of kin is currently enrolled if you have not previously been eligible to be enrolled; or
  • Where they were born, if neither of the above apply; or
  • Where they have the closest connection if none of the above apply.

If they enrol as an elector with no fixed address and don't vote at an election, they won't be fined and their name will remain on the electoral roll.

If your client believes that having their address on the electoral roll will them or their family's safety at risk, they can apply to become a silent elector.

This involves having a statutory declaration signed.

If the person has enrolled using a ‘no fixed address’ form, only the name will appear on the roll, not the address.

If they have used a standard enrolment form, both the name and address will appear. A silent elector has only their name shown on the electoral roll, not their address.

The information your client provides is made available by law, to members of Parliament, political parties, approved medical researchers and public health screening programs, certain government agencies and other electoral authorities. The enrolment form explains this further.

If the person received a voting fine in the past and did not pay it, it is important that they let Elections ACT know.

Call Elections ACT and explain that the person is experiencing homelessness and was unable to vote on polling day.

Elections ACT develops a brochure that contains all the important electoral information required for each ACT Legislative Assembly election. The brochure is distributed by mail to all households in the ACT in the lead up to the election, is available online and in audio format on the Elections ACT website and in ACT libraries, and is inserted into The Canberra Times on election day.

An Easy English Guide, Vote in the ACT election, is also available to help people with low literacy levels. The guide provides key information about enrolment and voting in the ACT in a clear and understandable way. Ideally, it is read as a shared activity between the reader and someone such as a friend, family member or carer. This allows concepts to be explained and questions answered. Contact Elections ACT for copies.

Some election materials are also translated into different languages to assist voters from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This includes the instruction screens for electronic voting.

Elections ACT aims to ensure that everyone has access to the electoral process, regardless of their current living situation.

Elections ACT can provide:

  • Information about the electoral process for agency workers;
  • 'No fixed address' enrolment forms, the Easy English guide, posters and other information material to display at your agency; and
  • Postal voting facilities

Postal voting is available for anyone who is unable to attend a polling place. Applications for a postal vote can be made online or by phoning (02) 6205 0033 from about mid-July in a Legislative Assembly election year. An application for a postal vote can be made by the elector or by someone acting on behalf of the elector as long as that person has authorised them to do so.

For enquiries about enrolment and voting, visit the Elections ACT's FAQs or call (02) 6205 0033.

Elections ACT's office is located at:
Level 6, 221 London Circuit, Canberra City ACT 2601

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact Elections ACT through the National Relay Service Speak & Listen service – call 1300 555 727 and ask for (02) 6205 0033. For more information, visit Access Hub