How to fill out a ballot paper

How to vote correctly

Voting is simpler than you think. When you vote in a State election you're voting for who you want to represent you in the two houses of the State Parliament.
Video transcript

Voting is simpler than you think. When you vote in a State election you're voting for who you want to represent you in the two houses of the State Parliament.

There’s the Legislative Assembly known as the Lower House. The party or parties that win the majority of seats in the Lower House forms a government. And the Legislative Council known as the Upper House.

The Lower House ballot paper is the smaller of the two ballots issued to you. To vote put the number one in the box next to the candidate you most want to see elected.

Then number all the other boxes in order of your choice. Number every box and only use each number once.

The Upper House ballot paper is the larger of the two ballots, and there are two options for completing it: above or below the line.

To vote above the line, put the number one next to your preferred group of candidates in one of the boxes above the black line. This means that your preferences will be determined by the group you vote for, in line with one of its group voting tickets, which you can check out on the VEC website before you vote.

That's it for voting above the line. You leave the rest of the ballot unmarked.

To vote below the line you need to number at least 5 of the candidate boxes below the black line in order of your preference. You can continue numbering if you wish, but you must choose at least five candidates.

Oh, and if you make a mistake, just ask the election staff for new ballot papers. They can help you with other voting queries as well.

See? Too easy.

Visit vec.vic.gov.au for more information.

When you vote in a State election, you are voting for who you want to represent you in the 2 houses of the State Parliament:

  • the Legislative Assembly (Lower House)
  • the Legislative Council (Upper House).

Lower House ballot paper

Sample Lower House ballot paper

On the smaller Lower House ballot paper, you need to number every box in the order of your choice.

  • Write the number 1 in the box next to the candidate who is your first choice.
  • Write the number 2 in the box next the candidate who is your second choice.
  • Continue writing the numbers 3, 4, 5 and so on until you have a number in every box.

Upper House ballot paper

Sample Upper House ballot paper 

On the larger Upper House ballot paper, you can vote above the line or below the line.

Above the line

If you choose to vote above the line:

  • Write the number 1 in the box next to the group of your choice.
  • Leave the rest of the ballot paper blank. 
  • Do not write any numbers below the line.

If you vote above the line, your preferences will be decided by the group voting ticket(s) registered by the group you’ve chosen.

A group voting ticket is a statement on how each group gives preferences to other candidates. A group must register at least 1 group voting ticket, but can register up to 3 group voting tickets.

Every group voting ticket for the 2022 State election will be available on this website from Monday 14 November and in each voting centre.

Below the line

If you choose to vote below the line:

  • Write the number 1 in the box next to the candidate who is your first choice.
  • Write the number 2 in the box next the candidate who is your second choice.
  • Continue writing the numbers 3, 4, 5 and so on until you have numbered at least 5 boxes.
  • Do not write any numbers above the line.

You can continue numbering more than 5 candidates, but for your vote to be counted you must number at least 5 boxes.

By voting below the line, you decide your preferences.

Formal and informal votes

A ballot paper that is filled out correctly is known as a formal vote. Formal votes are counted to determine the result of the election.

A ballot paper that has not been filled out correctly is known as an informal vote. Informal votes cannot be counted toward the election result.

A ballot paper can be considered informal when someone:

  • puts ticks, crosses, or any other symbol in the boxes
  • does not number enough boxes
  • misses or repeats numbers
  • leaves the ballot paper blank.

Donkey votes

A ballot paper that is numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (and so on) in the same order that the candidates are listed, is known as a ‘donkey vote’.

A donkey vote could be a voter not understanding how to vote, not caring how they vote, or could actually express the voter’s true preferences.

If all the boxes are numbered, donkey votes are formal and count toward the election result.

Making a mistake

If you make a mistake, that’s okay. You can cross it out and put the correct number next to it.

If you’re worried we won’t be able to interpret your corrections, you can return your ballot paper to the election staff and ask for a new one.

If you damage or tear your ballot paper, you can return it to the election staff and ask for a new one.