Voting via post is how everyone votes at council elections in South Australia. Postal voting is also available at state elections and by-elections for voters who meet certain criteria (see below).
For council elections, the Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA) will automatically post voting packs out to each voter after nominations have closed. You do not need to register as a postal voter to receive your ballot papers.
Check the ECSA website at the time of the council election or supplementary election for the date you must return your completed ballot papers by.
State elections and by-elections
Postal voting is also available at state elections and by-elections, but voters must first apply to receive a postal voting pack.
If you are unable to attend a polling booth or early voting centre, you may be eligible to apply for and cast a postal vote. South Australian legislation entitles you to cast a postal vote if, on polling day, you:
- are more than 8 km from a polling booth
- are travelling
- are ill, infirm or disabled – preventing you from attending a polling booth
- are caring for someone who is ill, infirm or disabled - preventing you from attending a polling booth
- are due to give birth shortly
- have religious beliefs preventing you from attending a polling booth
- are working and unable to leave your workplace to vote
- are a resident of a declared institution
- are a resident of a prescribed institution (specifically, the Adelaide Remand Centre, Port Augusta Prison or Yatala Labour Farm)
- have your address suppressed on the electoral roll (a silent elector)
To apply for a postal vote, you need to complete an application. Applications are available several weeks before the election. To get a postal vote application at election time, you can either download an application from the ECSA website, pick one up at an Australia Post outlet, or phone ECSA on 1300 655 232 and we will post or email an application out to you.
Permanent postal voting
ECSA maintains a register of voters who are permanently prevented from attending a polling booth at state elections and by-elections and meet certain criteria. These voters are called registered declaration voters for state elections and general postal voters for federal elections.
Once registered, ECSA will automatically send out a voting pack to you at every state election or by-election. You do not need to re-apply for future elections.
To apply to become a registered declaration voter you must be enrolled and meet one of the following criteria that prevent you from attending a polling place on polling day:
- Distance – you are enrolled at an address more than 20 km away from any polling place
- Illness – you are a patient at a hospital or nursing home and unable to travel to a polling place
- Infirmity – you are unable to travel to a polling place due to being infirm or seriously ill at home
- Caring for others – caring for a person who is seriously ill or infirm
- Physical disability – you are unable to sign your name due to a physical incapacity
- Religion – your religious beliefs or membership of a religious order prevent you from attending a polling place on polling day
- Overseas – you are registered as an overseas elector
- Silent elector – you are an elector whose address has been suppressed
Apply to become a permanent postal voter
To join the register of declaration voters, you need to complete and sign a form:
This is an external link to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) which manages registrations for ECSA. Please note that the one form allows you to register both as a registered declaration voter for South Australian elections and as a general postal voter for federal elections.
For any questions about the register, call the AEC on 13 23 26.