Voting in Australian Elections
Voting in Australian Elections - For Australian Citizens Overseas

Australia’s next federal election will be held in the period 7 August 2021 to 21 May 2022.

It’s not too early to make sure that you preserve your democratic right to vote in that election from offshore, if the law allows it.

Many Australian laws and policies impact Australian citizens overseas, some very significantly. If you want to have a say in electing the government that adopts those measures, it’s important to maintain your electoral enrolment and to vote in each election while you are offshore.

You cannot vote unless you are on the electoral roll. Many Australians who go overseas end up being deleted from the electoral roll, often without realising it.

The catch is that if you get deleted from the electoral roll, and it’s more than three years since you ceased to reside in Australia, the law currently prevents you from enrolling from abroad.

We estimate that probably in excess of 700,000 adult Australians overseas are disenfranchised due to this limitation on enrolment from abroad in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

If you are in this situation, to get back on the electoral roll, you would have to physically return to Australia and reside at an address for at least a month, which would then qualify you to enrol at that new address.


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If you are not sure whether you are still on the electoral roll, check by running a search on the Australian Electoral Commission’s (AEC) website.

CHECK YOUR ENROLMENT


I’m an Australian citizen overseas and I’m not on the electoral roll

If you discover that you are not on the electoral roll and

• it’s less than three years since you ceased to reside in Australia; and

• you intend to resume living in Australia not later than six years after you ceased residing there

then you qualify to enrol from abroad. Enrol now on the AEC website here.


I’m not on the electoral roll and I left Australia to live overseas more than three years ago 

You cannot enrol from abroad. You are disenfranchised until you return to reside in Australia. We want to hear from you: voting@freeandopenaustralia.org


I left Australia to live overseas less than three years ago, but I don’t intend to resume living in Australia within six years of leaving to reside abroad

You cannot enrol from abroad. You are disenfranchised until you return to reside in Australia. We want to hear from you: voting@freeandopenaustralia.org


Is it compulsory to vote in Australian elections when you are overseas?

It’s not compulsory to enrol or to vote in Australian elections when you are outside Australia. But if you are on the electoral roll and you don’t vote while overseas, your enrolment may be cancelled, and due to limitations on enrolment from abroad you may end up unable to re-enrol while you remain living overseas. 


The AEC website has more information:

Living or going overseas

Currently enrolled – notify the AEC you are going overseas for a short period of time

How to vote while overseas

AEC home page


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