Access to the Roll

About the electoral roll

The NSW electoral roll is a list of electors' names and addresses that is used to determine who can vote at elections.

A joint enrolment procedure exists between the State and the Commonwealth to facilitate exchange of information for the purposes of preparing, updating and revising rolls of electors. Authorisation to collect enrolment information is contained in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and the Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 (PEEA).

Access to the NSW electoral roll

It is strongly recommended that persons or entities seeking access to elector-based information from the NSWEC, read the NSWEC Disclosure of Enrolment, Electoral and Election Information Policy that was revised in February 2014 and published on this website in May 2014.

The policy details the various types of information available and how access to that information can be made by various government agencies, entities and individuals.

To quote from the policy regarding access to information by the public:-

"The PEEA enables the Electoral Commissioner to determine the manner and form of access to rolls and enrolment information; this includes the manner in which a copy of a roll will be made available for public inspection.

In order to satisfy its obligations under the PPIPA, the NSWEC has implemented a procedure recommended in guidelines issued by the Privacy Commissioner that requires any person attending for inspection of a roll to complete an application form confirming that inspection is for a purpose relating to the purpose of the roll or the Act under which the roll is kept.

The NSWEC will refuse access to the roll if an applicant fails to complete the Application to Inspect Electoral Roll - State Districts or Application to Inspect Electoral Roll - Council Areas, provide photo ID or fails to indicate an appropriate reason for inspecting the roll.

The purpose of public inspection of a roll is to ensure a degree of public transparency and accountability in terms of accuracy of enrolment information and to guard against electoral fraud.

Inspecting the electoral roll for the purpose of sending persons unsolicited mail is not a purpose relating to the purpose of the roll or the Act under which the roll is kept. Further, persons seeking to find out the address of acquaintances and/or relatives in order to renew contact, persons seeking to undertake research into their antecedents, solicitors seeking information for the completion of probate processes or Councils seeking to augment their mailing lists are not considered by the Electoral Commissioner as valid reasons to inspect electoral rolls.

A person inspecting an electoral roll at our office may take hand written notes but are not permitted to copy or record the information in any other way."

Entities or individuals seeking to access elector-based information via methods other than an inspection of the printed rolls at our Kent St offices, must formally write a letter to the NSW Electoral Commissioner at NSW Electoral Commissioner. That correspondence must include the reason for the request so as to allow the Commissioner to assess and apply the legislated "public interest test", details of which can be found in the Disclosure of Enrolment, Electoral and Election Information Policy.

The non-residential roll and the roll of occupiers and rate paying lessees for Local Government election purposes are made available for public inspection during office hours at the relevant council office.

Electoral rolls are not available for sale, and it is illegal to copy an electoral roll. Heavy penalties apply to any organisation or person who uses electoral enrolment information for a non-approved purpose.