Homelessness and voting

All Australian citizens aged 18 and over, regardless of their housing situation, have the right to enrol and vote.

By collaborating with community agencies we assist people experiencing homelessness to participate in local council and State elections.

On this page:

Didn’t vote in the 2016 local council elections?

The VEC sent ‘apparent failure to vote’ notices in early 2017 to people who did not vote in the October 2016 local council elections.

  • This letter is not a fine.
  • Make sure you respond to the letter and tell us your reasons for not voting.
  • You may be fined if you do not respond to the letter.

If you did not have a permanent address or access to safe and secure housing, this is a sufficient reason for not voting.

Can’t access your mail?

Ask a case worker to write to the VEC on your behalf, explaining that you were experiencing short or long-term homelessness at the time of the election.

Contact us

Call 1300 551 575 if you’re worried about getting a fine or unsure of your enrolment status.

Download our poster

Poster about non-voting fines for community service agencies to display (PDF, 1.4MB)

Enrolment and voting options for people experiencing homelessness

People experiencing homelessness can enrol:

  • under the No fixed address (PDF, 510kB) category. If you enrol under this category and don’t vote at an election you won’t be fined and your name will remain on the electoral roll.
  • as a Silent elector (PDF, 1.0MB). You can also apply to be a silent elector if your safety, or the safety of your family, is at risk. This means your address will not be shown on the publicly available electoral roll.

The VEC can visit community service agencies to:

  • speak with staff and network meetings about our services and how to assist clients to enrol to vote
  • run electoral enrolment outreach sessions and ensure that clients, if appropriate, are enrolled under the ‘no fixed address’ category
  • provide voting services during election time so that clients can vote in an environment in which they feel comfortable.

Homelessness Advisory Group

With representation from service users and key community agencies, the group, which meets twice a year, provides advice, experience and expertise to help guide the direction of the VEC’s Homeless not Voteless program.

It’s vital that the VEC’s work in this area is relevant and responsive to the needs of people experiencing homelessness. We are always looking for new members, whether you are a service user, agency worker or policy maker.

For more information, or to get involved please email Alex Markham alex.markham@vec.vic.gov.au.

Resources

Have a look at our more of our resources.

Contact

To find out more, or to book an electoral outreach session, please contact:

VEC Education and Inclusion Team

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