Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

FAQS are grouped into the following topics:

Election equipment packs

What's in an election equipment pack?

An election equipment pack includes:

  • A Get Voting information letter
  • A ballot box
  • 2 ballot box seals
  • 2 colour posters to display around the school
  • 5 badges for election officials
  • A carry bag for easy storage

If you have indicated that more than 200 voters are participating in your election, extra ballot boxes and seals will be included in your pack.

How long will it take to get a pack?

Election equipment packs are sent within 2 business days of your order being received. Depending on where you are in Australia, it may take up to a week for your pack to arrive. To be on the safe side, we recommend ordering your pack at least 3 weeks before the election. If your pack has not arrived after two weeks, please contact us.

What should I do with my pack after the election?

Keep your pack; add it to the school's resource centre so that it can be used again. You can get new seals and other items next year by contacting us

Can I get additional resources, information and advice?

Yes, if you require additional election materials or have questions about your election please contact us.

How will I know my order has been received?

You will receive an email from the AEC to let you know that your order has been received and your election pack has been sent.

Election process

Can staff influence the election outcome?

Get Voting is all about running a fair and open election, to give students trust in the results. That does not mean that the teachers cannot retain some control over the election. A nominations process allows teachers to place criteria on who can and can't stand for election, that way ensuring you have suitable candidates.

For more information see Get started–planning and nominations.

Can the counting be done only by staff?

If you would prefer that only teachers count the votes, that's fine. However, please remember that the aim of this program is to run a fair and open election, so consider how you may incorporate the 'openness' principle.

Some schools ask parents to come along as independent observers, or allow students to recount after the results are announced. Students can be used to count or be observers if they agree to keep the results confidential until after the official announcement.

Can staff have 'extra' voting rights?

Definitely not! Get Voting helps students to understand elections as a fair decision making process. Teachers having extra votes or changing the results undermines the principles of a good election and creates mistrust. We encourage teachers to think about the message that such actions may give to students.

What is the minimum time required to run a schools election?

A school election can be organised in as little as one week but ideally you should allow 2–4 weeks. This time frame allows you to receive election equipment or expert assistance from the AEC.

What is the simplest method of voting?

First past the post voting is generally the simplest method. In this system, the candidate with the most votes is elected even if they do not receive a majority. If you would like to model the system used in the House of Representatives elections, go for preferential voting.

How can active participation be encouraged?

Generating a sense of excitement and importance around your election will encourage students to get involved. Candidate campaigns and voter preparation activities can help achieve this.

What equipment do I need for the election?

See the equipment list.

Why randomise the order candidates appear on the ballot paper?

The candidate listed first on the ballot paper has an advantage because some voters may number the boxes sequentially from top to bottom (a donkey vote). If candidates' positions on the ballot paper are selected at random, no one candidate can be guaranteed this advantage. This is another way of ensuring that the election is fair. Random ordering is used for federal election ballot papers.

Which votes cannot be counted?

Votes which have not been completed properly are called 'informal'. During the counting, you may have to decide whether or not a ballot paper is informal.

What happens to the ballot papers after the election?

It is a good idea to keep the ballot papers for at least a few weeks after the election in case they need to be checked again or if one of the candidates cannot fulfil their position.

About the AEC

What is the AEC?

The Australian Electoral Commission is responsible for managing the federal electoral roll, federal elections and referendums. We also have a responsibility to inform the community about their voting rights and responsibilities.

For more information visit the AEC website.

What is the AEC teachers and educators mailing list?

The AEC teachers and educators mailing list is an email group specifically for people interested in receiving information about the AEC and its education services. Members of the mailing list will receive newsletters or occasional notifications about AEC or other civics education resources, programs or events.

Your email address will only be used for the purpose for which you have provided it and we will not disclose it without your consent. Please read the AEC Privacy Statement.

Subscribe to the AEC teachers and educators mailing list.

Why is the AEC involved in school elections?

School elections give many young people their first experience of voting. It can shape the way they see voting for the rest of their lives.

As part of the AEC's role to educate Australians about the electoral system, the AEC has developed Get Voting to help school elections be a positive experience for students. In this way, it encourages young Australians to better understand and respect the process of elections.