Our regulatory approach

Victorians expect us to take our role seriously, not only when holding elections, but also ensuring everyone involved in elections plays by the rules.

Constructive compliance approach

Most Victorians need a little help to become aware of and understand their obligations under the Electoral Act. Our priority is to educate them about their obligations.

Where education doesn’t address non-compliance or we believe an offence has been committed, we will investigate or take action in proportion with the level of harm.

This is known as 'constructive compliance'.

Steps in constructive compliance

  1. Education: we offer education and guidance by making relevant information available for all participants in Victoria’s democracy, and more targeted education for those who need it.
  2. Compliance enforcement: we have powers under the Act to ask for documents or request people answer our questions in relation to certain matters. We may also refer matters to other enforcement or integrity agencies.
  3. Formal investigation: if we can't address the non-compliance or we've identified an offence against the Act, we will formally investigate the matter.
  4. Warn or caution: if an investigation finds a less harmful offence has been committed, we may ask for an amendment or issue a formal warning.
  5. Injunction: an injunction is a court order requiring a person to do, not do or stop doing something. For certain behaviour, we may apply for an injunction to prevent the behaviour from harming an election or other election participants.
  6. Prosecute: taking a person to court for an offence against the Act is the final option to stop non-compliance. Penalties for offences in the Act involve fines, terms of imprisonment, or both.