Overseas on Election Day? Here's what you need to know


If you're overseas you will miss out on the democracy sausage, but you don't have to miss out on voting.

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It is ON, it’s official. The country is heading to the polls May 18.

But what if you’re not in the country and there aren’t any polls to head to?

If you’re backpacking, studying, an expat, or if you’ve intentionally escaped the  “Canberra Bubble” - here’s how to participate in our glorious democratic system.

FIRST THING, you need to make sure you’re actually enrolled. SBS News can walk you through the process here.

Yay, you’re enrolled. Here are your options:


Some Australian Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions will have overseas voting centres.

You’ll be able to go to one of the selected centres and vote in person.

You can see a full list here. The Australian Electoral Commission warns that you should check that list before voting as locations can change on short notice.


For this option you need a postal address (sorry, backpackers) and you need to apply for a postal vote.

The AEC will send you ballot papers, which you must fill out and return on or before May 18.

You only have 13 days after the federal election for your ballot papers to be received by the AEC.

The AEC will start mailing voting papers to postal voters when nominations for candidates have been declared and ballot papers are available.


If option one and option two don’t work, you can complete and submit an Overseas Notification Form. You can send this form back by post or scan and upload it on the AEC website.

If you don’t vote or notify the AEC you’re overseas, you will be fined.

But the AEC will give you another opportunity to explain you were overseas on election day and cancel the fine.


If you’ve been overseas for a while, but for less than six years, you can register as an overseas elector. This will ensure your name isn’t removed from the electoral roll and you can vote.

If you have been overseas for more than six years and you still want to vote, you can write to the Divisional Returning Officer at info@aec.gov.au. They will have your registration as an overseas elector extended by one year at a time. You must do this in the three months before your registration is due to expire.

Happy voting!

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