Senate voting rules: how to vote

Australians will head to the polls tomorrow for Election 2016 – at last! We’ve all voted many times before but, as many of you may be aware, Senate voting rules have changed, so here’s how to make your vote count.

When you arrive at the polling station you will be handed a large white Senate ballot paper and a small green paper for the House of Representatives.

On your white paper you’ll need to:

  • Number at least six boxes above the line for the parties or groups of your choice. For example, you need to place a ‘1’ in the box that is your first choice, ‘2’ for your second choice, and so on. You can also continue to place as many numbers above the line as you like.
  • If you plan to vote below the line, you need to number a minimum of 12 boxes, in order of preference, for each individual candidate of your choosing.


There have been no changes to voting for the House of Representatives so, to make sure your vote counts, you’ll have to number all the boxes on the green paper in your order of preference.

Here’s a short video on how to make your vote count.

For more information about how to vote, head to

If you’d like to see how your views align with those of the candidates, head to Vote Compass.

Happy voting!

Related articles:
Election 2016: which policies matter?
Election 2016: what will your vote cost you?
Election 2016 ’emoji-style’

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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