How to make your federal election vote count
WE can't tell you who to vote for, but we can tell you how to make your vote count.
Voters will receive two ballot papers to fill in at the polling booth today: a green one for the House of Representatives and a white one for the Senate.
The party that wins the most seats in the House of Representatives, also known as the lower house of parliament, will win government and the leader of that party will be the prime minister.
The Senate or upper house shares the power to make laws with the lower house and can block and amend legislation.
The Senate is made up of 12 senators from each state plus two from each of the territories.
Senators usually sit for six-year terms. Forty Senate seats are declared vacant when half-Senate and House of Representatives elections are held at the same time.
Voting is a little different for each house.
On the green House of Representatives paper, voters must number every box, using "1" for their first preference, "2" for the next choice, and so on.
If a candidate does not win more than half the vote, the preferences from the candidate who received the fewest votes are distributed to the other candidates.
If there is still no clear majority, the preferences from the candidate with the next lowest numbers are distributed, and so on, until a winner is declared with more than 50% of the vote.
There are two ways to vote on the white Senate ballot paper, which is divided by a line into two sections.
Voters can vote above the line by marking the figure "1" in a square to indicate whose voting ticket they wish to follow.
Their preferences will then be distributed as that party or group wishes.
If voters wish to distribute their preferences themselves, they should number each of the boxes below the line.
Each polling booth has a booklet of group voting tickets that voters can view.
If you make a mistake on a ballot paper, you can ask for another one and start again.
A House of Representatives ballot paper will be counted as informal if you do not number every box, if you use ticks or cross instead of numbers, if you repeat a number, if it has writing which identifies the voter, if the voter's intention is not clear, or if it has not received the official mark of the presiding officer and is not considered authentic.