Last updated 16 August 2016

It is compulsory for all eligible people to enrol and vote in any local, state or federal election, however, many people with a disability do not vote, even though they are capable of understanding the electoral process.

People who can vote

A person can vote if they:

  • are 18 years of age or older
  • are an Australian citizen
  • have lived at their present address for at least one month.

People who cannot vote

People are not entitled to vote if they are incapable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting. Usually the doctor of a person with a disability will decide whether they have the capacity to vote.

Assistance with voting

At both Commonwealth and state elections, arrangements can be made to assist people with a disability to exercise their right to vote. For example, people may be allowed a postal vote, a vote through an electoral visitor or pre-poll voting.

People who are able to understand the nature of voting but are physically unable to sign a form can either authorise another person to sign the enrolment form, fill in the voting form or make their mark on the enrolment form. The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) has offered blind and vision-impaired electors the opportunity to have a secret vote using a Braille ballot paper and postal voting.

Sections 234 and 235 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) provide for persons with disabilities to seek assistance to vote or to vote outside of a polling booth. Additionally, ss 23 and 24 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (Disability Discrimination Act) prohibit discrimination in relation to access to premises and to services. The administration of Commonwealth laws and programs (s 29 Disability Discrimination Act) is relevant to how federal elections are conducted.