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Home News and media centre News Voting as an older person in a referendum

Voting as an older person in a referendum

Voting in the upcoming referendum is compulsory for all eligible Australians – including older people. There is no upper age limit, so unless you have an exemption, you are required to vote.

How do I vote in a referendum?

To vote, your enrolment with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) must be up to date.

Once the referendum has been called, there is a limited amount of time for you to update your electoral details.

Check out the frequently asked questions below for more information.

I live in residential aged care, is it still compulsory for me to vote?

Yes, voting is compulsory for all eligible voters who have lived at their residential address for a period of one month.

The AEC offers mobile polling to all residential aged care homes. Ask staff if mobile polling for the upcoming referendum is occurring at your home.

How can I change or update my enrolment details?

You can change or update your enrolment details on the AEC website. You must update your enrolment if you have recently changed your address.

Make sure you have your identity documents ready, as you will need to provide a range of personal information. This may include your date of birth and information about your citizenship.

A family member or carer who is already on the Commonwealth electoral roll may confirm your identity if you do not have the required documents to prove your identity.

Nobody can sign the form to change or update your enrolment on your behalf, you must do this yourself. If you have a physical disability that prevents you from writing, you can have somebody else complete and sign an enrolment form for you.

Download the form for persons unable to sign their name from the AEC website.

Visit the AEC website to explore other options if you are unable to use the online form.

How do I update my electoral details if I have a disability?

The AEC website provides information for people with disability or mobility restrictions to ensure they are not disadvantaged from participating in the electoral system.

Provisions for people with a disability include:

  • easy read guides
  • accessible voting options – for people who are blind or have low vision, people living with dementia, people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Is it compulsory for someone with dementia to vote?

People living with dementia who are still capable of understanding the electoral process must continue to be enrolled and vote.

If you are supporting someone living with dementia who is no longer capable of understanding the electoral process, you will need to complete an Objection claim that an elector should not be enrolled form and return it to the AEC to have their name removed from the electoral roll. The medical certificate on the form must be completed and signed by a registered medical practitioner.

Download the Objection claim that an elector should not be enrolled form here.

How do I enrol and vote if I live with dementia?

The AEC website  has new information to assist voters living with dementia:

  • View the Easy read guides here, which provide information on how to enrol and how to vote. These also include information on how to correctly complete ballot paper(s).
  • Watch the video on enrolling and voting with dementia here.

I need assistance at a polling booth, is that allowed?

If you need assistance at a polling place, staff are trained to assist:

  • people with disability
  • older people
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • people who require assistance to read or write.

You can also nominate a friend, relative or carer to assist you. If a person is not nominated, then the polling official in charge of the polling place will assist.

For more information about receiving assistance to vote, visit the AEC website.

What if I am unable to get to a polling place?

If you cannot get to a polling place, there are several alternative voting options including:

  • postal voting
  • telephoning voting
  • mobile polling.

To find out more about alternative voting options, visit the AEC website.

Can my power of attorney (POA) vote on my behalf?

No. A person who holds a power of attorney is not permitted to vote for an elector.

Need more information about enrolment, voting and the upcoming referendum? Visit the AEC’s webpage for People living in residential aged care

OPAN advocates can provide independent and confidential information to older people experiencing issues within the aged care system. If you need individual advocacy support, call an OPAN advocate on 1800 700 600.