Australian Citizenship - Enrolling to vote prior to Ceremony

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This addition to the Wiki came about as a result of finding myself in a "what status am I?" position when the Australian Federal Election was called for 21st August 2010. Other people in the future may find themselves similary placed, so here is the summary:

If you have a confirmed appointment for your citizenship ceremony and it transpires that your ceremony will fall between the close of rolls and polling day, this is what you can do:

You ARE entitled to vote as you will be a citizen on polling day.

However, you will not be able to enrol in time in the normal way as, at that time, you will not yet be a citizen and the online form will not work for you.

Please see points a, b and c at top left of form.

  • You need to fax or take this form, completed, to your local AEC office.

You can find your local area AEC office fax number here:

You need to scroll down slightly to a "FIND" button.

Stick your postcode in, this will give you local office details including fax number.

Please note point 8 on the form. This requires that a witness (from the list on page 1) sign to say that they have had sight of your evidence of upcoming citizenship ceremony.

This process is called provisional enrolment.

When you go to vote on election day your name will not be on the certified list (printed at close of rolls), you will need to do what is called a declaration vote (where you declare you are eligible to vote on an envelope and the votes are sealed inside). You should take a form of identity – eg drivers licence with you.

  • You also need to take your certificate of citizenship with you.
  • You are advised to take a copy of any forms that you may have submitted as well.

All the above advice is, at the time of writing, correct. I have been through the process and it is as stated.

What is not clear is this: Australian Citizens are obliged to vote. So where does that leave you if you have been unable to register before becoming a citizen? Well, the unofficial advice that I received from AEC on the phone is this:

  • IF YOU DON'T WANT TO VOTE - DO NOT REGISTER. If you don't register, you won't be required to vote. If you DO REGISTER, you WILL be required to vote.