FACT SHEET: Exemption from enrolment and voting

This fact sheet is also available as an RTF.

All Australian citizens who are 18 years of age or older are required by law to be enrolled to vote and to vote at all federal, state and local government elections.

However, a person may be exempted from enrolment and voting, or removed from the electoral roll, where a registered medical practitioner has certified in writing that the person is:

“incapable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting”.

If someone in this category is not currently on the electoral roll: There is no need to do anything now. Obtain the certification from a doctor and provide to the Electoral Commission only if any compulsory enrolment action is taken in regard to that person. (For example, if the electoral commission sends a letter asking them to enrol or if in NSW, they are ‘smartrolled’*).

If someone in this category is already on the electoral roll: To be removed from the electoral roll for this reason, the certificate from their doctor must be accompanied by a "Claim that an elector should not be on the roll" form, available from the Australian Electoral Commission by phoning 13 23 26.

* SMARTROLL: The law was changed in New South Wales in 2009 to let the NSW Electoral Commission automatically enrol young Australians who turn 18 or automatically change address details on the roll for people who have moved. This is called Smartroll.

The NSW Electoral Commission now gets information from other government departments, like the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), the NSW Board of Studies or the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages, that lets us know when people turn 18 or change their name or address.

If you have been ‘smartrolled’ you will be contacted by the Electoral Commission by SMS, email or letter to let you know that your details have been added or changed on the electoral roll. You can let us know if the information is not correct.