Why vote? Read this page in Easy English

Everyone on the electoral roll in Victoria has the right and the responsibility to vote.

Australia is a representative democracy. We elect representatives to make decisions on our behalf. Each of our three levels of government; Federal, State and local council has different responsibilities.

It is the right and the responsibility of everyone on the electoral roll to vote. This ensures that our elected representatives are genuinely those preferred by the majority of the electorate.

Federal Government

The Federal Government makes decisions about issues that affect all Australians. Its responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • the national economy
  • defence
  • foreign policy
  • immigration
  • social services including pensions and family support
  • trade and commerce
  • post-secondary education
  • Medicare and health funding.

How to vote in a Federal election

State Government

The State Government makes decisions about issues that specifically affect Victorians. Its responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • hospitals and health services
  • drugs and crime prevention
  • education and training
  • family and community development
  • transport and road safety
  • rural and regional service development.

How to vote in a State election

Local councils

Local councils make decisions on a range of local issues. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • maternal and child health care centres
  • child care
  • meals on wheels and home help
  • sporting facilities and recreation reserves
  • libraries and community centres
  • animal registrations
  • rubbish and recycling collection
  • town planning and building regulations
  • local roads and footpaths.

How to vote in a council election

Formal and informal votes

A formal vote is a correctly completed ballot paper. Formal votes are counted to determine the result of an election.

An informal vote is a ballot paper that has not been completed following the rules for the election. Informal votes are sometimes known as invalid or rejected votes. They cannot be used to determine the election result.

Common causes of informality include:

  • using ticks or crosses where the voter is required to number preferences
  • failing to number the required number of boxes
  • incorrectly numbering preferences (such as missing or repeating preference numbers).

Whenever you are casting your vote in an election, always follow the instructions on the ballot paper to ensure your vote is formal and can be counted.