Real Life

Same-sex marriage postal plebiscite: how to vote, how to enrol and what's the cut off date

Australians only have two weeks to register to vote for the gay marriage postal plebiscite.

By Holly Royce
With the ballots being distributed from early September, Aussies not already on the electoral roll will have until August 24 to register or update their details with the Australian Electoral Commission.
All enrolled Australians will receive a ballot to have their say on the issue. At this stage, the ballot papers need to be returned by November 7, and a result is expected by November 25.
Following the plebiscite, the Parliament will have the opportunity to vote later this year. However, MPs are not bound by the result of the postal survey, and there is a very high chance the vote won't happen.
You can update your information or enrol to vote by visiting the AEC website.
If an Australian is overseas they need to have registered an overseas address with the AEC to receive a ballot.
There is no legal obligation to vote in the postal plebiscite - but the more of us who speak up the louder our voices will be.

Why is the ABS in charge of the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite?

The reason the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite is being led by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is because the process is basically a statistical survey of the Australian nation and as we know, the ABS are in charge of surveys.
There are concerns over whether the ABS is equipped to handle the plebiscite.

What is a Plebiscite?

A plebiscite is similar to a survey, in that it is a national vote to assess public feedback on a particular proposal.
A plebiscite should not be confused with a referendum, which is where an entire electorate is asked to vote, and the result could mean the adoption of a new law.

Am I eligible to vote?

You are eligible to enrol if you:
  • are an Australian citizen, or eligible British subject,
  • aged 18 years and over, and
  • have lived at your address for at least one month.

Countries with legal same-sex marriage

  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Bermuda
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom (some parts)
  • United States
  • Uruguay