Do I need to vote?

Can you be excused from voting if you’re of unsound mind?

Do I need to vote?

Maureen’s mum has just been diagnosed with dementia and doesn’t have the mental capacity to vote, but how does she go about being excused?

Q. Maureen

My mum suffers from dementia and has just been admitted to a high care facility. She has good days and bad and with the upcoming federal election, I’m unsure what to do about her compulsory vote. Does she have to vote or can I arrange for her to be excused?

A. Those who have a physical or mental inability to vote can be excused, but this must be approved by a medical practioner. The process is relatively simple, once you know where to look.

Step one: Visit the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) at
Step two: Click on ‘Change address’
Step three: On this page, under ‘Special enrolment options’, click on ‘physically incapable of signing’
Step four: Towards the bottom of this page, there are links to forms for each state, click on the required state
Step five: Download and print the PDF form, complete and have it signed by your medical practioner
Step six: Submit your form to the AEC. This can be done in person to your nearest office, by mail to the reply paid address, by fax or you can scan and submit your form online. To find out more about submitting your form, visit


    To make a comment, please register or login
    8th Aug 2013
    Also if people are unable to stand and wait in line to vote then postal voting is available. I applied yesterday online for my postal vote to be sent as it's much quicker than waiting till I can get the application form posted. Just visit and follow the prompts.
    12th Aug 2013
    Yes Penqueen I applied too but what was most annoying is that when it was time for council elections I couldn't find any way of applying on line, so my husband just went there to vote & told them that I wouldn't be voting and the reason why.
    12th Aug 2013
    Unicorn, I was unable to vote in the last state election because of illness. I just asked my doctor to write a letter to say why I could not vote and when the AEC contacted me I just sent them the letter. Our council elections here were by postal vote only and everyone had their papers delivered my mail. Personally I think we should be able to vote online as well.

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