Types of Voting

If you vote at a polling place within your District, you vote as an ordinary voter. If you vote at a polling place outside your District, you vote as an absent voter (this option is not available at Local Government elections).

Voting as an ordinary voter

Enter the polling place and go to the next available election official at an issuing table. The election official will ask you for your full name, enrolled address and if you have voted before in this election. You are only entitled to vote once.

The election official will mark your name off the electoral roll and hand you 2 ballot papers.

Voting as an absent voter

Enter the polling place and go to the table for declaration voting. Your name will not be listed on the electoral roll at this polling place because you are out of your District.

Your details will be written on an envelope that you must sign. Your ballot papers will be placed in this envelope when you have finished voting and it will be sent to your area for checking and counting.

Special procedures are followed when opening declaration envelopes in order to ensure the secrecy of each vote. Election officials opening declaration envelopes and counting votes are required by law to preserve the elector’s secret ballot.

Note: No absent voting occurs at Local Government elections.

Other instances where a declaration vote is taken

All voters casting a declaration vote are required to complete and sign a declaration envelope within which their ballot papers are placed. The declaration envelopes and enclosed ballot papers will be distributed to the relevant Returning Officer for processing and counting after election day.

The various declaration vote types that are available are:

  • Absent – issued to electors voting outside their enrolled District. At Local Government elections, there is no absent voting available, however Sydney Town Hall will be available for all electors to vote on election day otherwise you must vote at a polling place in your area/ward on election day;
  • Enrolment New – issued to an eligible person with appropriate identification (a NSW photo driver licence or a NSW photo card issued by the Roads and Traffic Authority, and in some circumstances a Citizenship number or an Australian passport number may also be required) who is enrolling in NSW at the time of casting their vote, that is, a person, who is not enrolled for any District;
  • Name Already Marked as Voted – issued to an elector who has already been marked off the Authorised Roll in the polling place as having voted;
  • Name not on Roll – Issued to an elector whose name does not appear on the Authorised Roll and who is claiming that their name has been removed from the Roll in error.
  • Silent – issued to an elector whose name appears on the Authorised Roll but their address does not for reasons of personal safety. These declaration votes are issued by the Polling Place Manager only.

Ballot papers

At a State election there are 2 ballot papers to be completed: 1 for the Legislative Assembly and 1 for the Legislative Council.

Local government elections may have 1 for the councillors and 1 for the Mayor (if the Mayor for that council is popularly elected), and there may also be a referendum or poll paper.

It is important that when you take your ballot papers to a voting screen you follow the instructions on each ballot paper. Every election and every ballot paper is different. If you do not follow the instructions your vote may not count.

Do not sign or mark the ballot paper in any way which may identify you.

The ballot papers must be completed in private, unless you require someone to assist you. Once the ballot papers have been completed they must be folded separately so that the vote cannot be seen.

If you voted as an ordinary voter, place your ballot papers in the ballot boxes located at the exit of the polling place (there is one for each type of ballot paper).

If you voted as an absent voter or a declaration voter (see above), take your ballot papers back to the election official who issued them so they can be placed in your declaration envelope. The Returning Officer will later determine if you are enrolled and entitled to vote.

Voting is secret and you do not have to tell anyone how you voted.

If you make a mistake on your ballot paper, take it back to the same election official who gave it to you and ask for a new ballot paper.