Before Election Day

Postal Vote Eligibility

You can vote before election day as a postal voter if you:

  • will not be in New South Wales (council area or ward for local government elections) between 8.00am and 6.00pm on election day
  • will not be within 8 kilometres of any polling place open on election day between 8.00am and 6.00pm
  • will be travelling under conditions which will prevent you from voting at any polling place between 8.00am and 6.00pm on election day
  • are sick, infirm or approaching maternity and cannot attend a polling place
  • are caring for a person, not in hospital, who is sick, infirm or approaching maternity and cannot travel to a polling place
  • are a member of a religious order or have religious beliefs which prevent you from attending a polling place or voting between 8.00am and 6.00pm on election day
  • are in a correctional centre and are precluded from attending any polling place to vote
  • will be working between 8.00am and 6.00pm on election day and will not be able to attend at a polling place to vote
  • are a silent elector
  • have a disability; or
  • believe that attending a polling place on election day will place your personal safety, or that of your family members, at risk.

Postal Voting

There are two ways you can apply to be a postal voter:

  • by completing an online application or
  • by completing a form, and returning it to the NSWEC.

If you are already registered as a General Postal Vote, you do not need to apply for a postal vote; you will be automatically sent your ballot papers.

At the time of an election, application forms for postal votes will be available from votensw.info, or through the NSWEC Election Enquiries Centre.

If you need to vote by post, make sure you have your application in early so that voting material can be sent to you before election day.

Postal vote applications for a state election or by-election must be completed and received by the NSWEC no later than:

  • 6.00pm on the Monday prior to election day - if the application is sent from outside Australia; and
  • 6.00pm on the Wednesday prior to election day - if the application is made online or sent within Australia.

Postal vote applications for local government elections must be completed and received by the NSWEC no later than 5pm on the Monday before election day.

The issuing of postal ballot papers will commence as soon as ballot papers are printed and received by the Centralised Postal Vote Centre.

Completed postal ballot papers, returned by electors, must be received by the respective Returning Officer no later than 6.00pm on the Wednesday following election day for state elections, and by 6pm on the Monday following election day for local government elections.

General postal voter

Certain electors may register as a general postal voter. If you are accepted as a general postal voter then you will be automatically sent ballot papers at the time of a State or Local Government election.

Pre-Poll Vote Eligibility

Pre-poll is the term for voting in person before election day.

You can vote before election day as a pre-poll voter if you:

  • will not be in New South Wales (council area or ward for local government elections) between 8.00am and 6.00pm on election day
  • will not be within 8 kilometres of any polling place open on election day between 8.00am and 6.00pm
  • will be travelling under conditions which will prevent you from voting at any polling place between 8.00am and 6.00pm on election day
  • are a member of a religious order or have religious beliefs which prevent you from attending a polling place or voting between 8.00am and 6.00pm on election day
  • are caring for a person, not in hospital, who is sick, infirm or approaching maternity and cannot travel to a polling place
  • will be working between 8.00am and 6.00pm on election day and will not be able to attend at a polling place to vote
  • are a silent elector
  • have a disability; or
  • believe that attending a polling place on election day will place their personal safety, or that of their family members, at risk.

Pre-poll voting is available at the office of any Returning Officer during office hours from Monday after the close of nominations until the Friday before election day.

Other pre-poll voting centres will be provided depending on the nature of the election.

Procedure for pre-poll voting in elector's own District

Amendments to the legislation have removed the provision for electors casting a pre-poll vote, within their own District, to complete a declaration envelope.

Electors meeting one of the above requirements for a pre-poll vote will need to make an oral application and then cast an ordinary vote as they would in a polling place on election day with ballot papers placed directly into the ballot boxes. These boxes will be opened after 6.00pm on election day.

Procedure for pre-poll voting outside elector's own District or Local Government area

Electors outside their own District casting a pre-poll vote are required to complete and sign a declaration envelope within which their ballot papers will be placed. The declaration envelopes and enclosed ballot papers will be distributed to the relevant Returning Officer for processing and counting after election day.

Procedure for enrolling and casting a provisional pre-poll vote

Amendments to the legislation have introduced enrolment voting, which allows people who are not enrolled in NSW and who are eligible to enrol in an electoral district, to enrol and provisionally vote, using a declaration envelope at pre-poll voting locations, provided the person can produce a NSW photo driver licence or a NSW photo card issued by the Roads and Traffic Authority that shows their current address. In some circumstances it may also be necessary to produce a Citizenship number or an Australian passport number.

Interstate and Overseas Pre-poll Voting

iVote® has been used by NSW Electoral Commission for State elections since the State General Election in 2011. Electors who are interstate or overseas at the time of State Elections are eligible to use the iVote system to cast their vote.

Under current legislation, the iVote® system cannot be made available in Local Government elections.

The iVote® system can be accessed by internet or telephone. For further information visit iVote or telephone on 1300 2 iVote (1300 24 86 83) or +61 2 9290 5287 (outside Australia).

Australian consulates and missions overseas are no longer voting venues.

Electors have the option of voting by iVote or by post.

Declared Institutions

Some nursing homes, convalescent homes, hospitals or similar institutions are appointed by the NSWEC as Declared Institutions. Election officials from the Returning Officer's office visit these facilities during the 5 days prior to election days.

Voting at Declared Institutions is restricted to inpatients or temporary or permanent residents of the facility.

A change to voting procedures now allows 'ordinary' voting for electors who are enrolled within the electoral district in which the Declared Institution is located. Electors enrolled in other electoral districts will be required to place ballot papers in a declaration envelope.

Assistance to electors

The NSWEC provides a range of services and resources to ensure that a person's right to vote is not limited by language, disability or circumstance.

Electors who require assistance to vote can seek such assistance from an election official.