Monday 19 November 2018
For immediate release

Victorians urged to understand preference system ahead of election

Victoria’s preferential voting system can be confusing, and Victorian communities are being encouraged to learn how to fill out a ballot paper correctly ahead of this Saturday’s State election.

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has been running outreach sessions with communities to educate people on how to cast a formal vote in a State election.

Importantly, the VEC has been highlighting the difference between Lower House and Upper House ballot papers, and the difference between ‘full’ and ‘optional’ preferential voting.

‘The Lower House ballot is a full preferential vote, meaning you need to number every box in the order of your preference,’ said Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately AM.

‘However, on the Upper House ballot, you can either vote ‘1’ above the line, or number to at least 5 below the line. You can number more below the line if you desire. This is known as optional preferential voting.

‘Voting above the line means your preferences will be determined by the Group Voting Ticket(s) registered by the party or group you select. Voting below the line allows you to control where your preferences flow.’

Voting instructions are available in the Election Guide mailed out to Victorian households, and are printed on ballot papers. This information is translated into 19 languages on voting screens at every voting centre, and VEC staff are available to assist at any stage.

More information on voting correctly can be found on the VEC’s website at

Media enquiries:

Marie Guerin
Senior Media & Communication Advisor
Victorian Electoral Commission
Phone: (03) 8620 1363
Mobile: 0419 366 889