For most candidates, the electoral process only begins with nomination.
Can I start campaigning?
Candidates can start campaigning at any time, even before they have officially nominated.
When campaigning, several key points must be considered:
- All campaign materials, including advertising, must be properly authorised by the candidate (or a representative of the candidate's party) so it is clear who produced and is accountable for it. Authorisation requirements can be found in the Candidate Handbook.
- How-to-vote cards handed out within 400 metres of a voting centre on election day or to be included with mobile voting teams, must be registered with the VEC (State elections) or Returning Officer (council elections). In addition, for council elections, how-to-vote cards must also be registered with the Returning Officer for early voting.
- All non-electoral laws still apply, such as those relating to defamation.
- Materials that are likely to mislead an elector in relation to the casting of their vote must not be printed or distributed as part of a candidate's campaign.
For more information about a candidate's responsibilities please see the Candidate Handbook.
Where will I be on the ballot paper?
The position of each candidate on the ballot paper is determined by a computerised random draw after nominations close. This process is called the ballot draw and takes place at the election office for each electorate.
Anyone can attend the election office for the ballot draw.
Computerised ballot draws have been used in Victoria since 1999 and guarantee fast and accurate transfer of data to the ballot paper printers.
Regular ballot papers (such as those for the State Lower House) use a single random draw.
Ballot papers that use above or below the line voting (such as those for the State Upper House) are randomly drawn in three phases:
- the order of the parties and groups above the line
- the order of the candidates for each party and group (unless they have been already specified) then
- the order of the independent (ungrouped) candidates.
The scrutineer's role is to observe the issuing of ballot papers and the counting of votes on behalf of a candidate. For more information about scrutineers' responsibilities please see the relevant Candidate or Scrutineer Handbook.
Scrutineers are engaged by the candidate and their appointment must be made in writing through completion of a Scrutineer's Appointment Form (PDF, 53kB).
This form must:
- specify the name and address of the scrutineer
- be signed by the candidate (original signature required - cannot be photocopied) and
- be produced for inspection on request by an Election Manager, Returning Officer or other election official.
On election day, no more than one scrutineer per candidate is allowed per election official issuing ballot papers at a voting centre.
Scrutineers intending to be present at the count of ballot papers on election day must report to the Voting Centre Manager during the day, and be inside the voting centre by 6:00 pm when the doors of the voting centre are locked.
During counting of the ballot papers, the number of scrutineers allowed per candidate is no greater than the number of officials engaged in counting the ballot papers. Appointed scrutineers must wear the identification label provided at the count venue at all times whilst undertaking their duties.
What if there aren't many candidates?
If there are the same number of candidates as there are positions to be filled, those candidates are elected without electors needing to vote. This is called being elected unopposed.
If there are no nominations for an election it is called a failed election. No voting takes place and another election is held as soon as possible.
If there are less candidates than positions to be filled, it is still called a failed election. No voting takes place and the candidates are elected unopposed. A by-election must be held for the remaining positions as soon as possible.