Appendixes/ references


Term Description
Amortisation Reductions in the value of assets to reflect their reduced worth over time.
Ballot A secret vote, normally written.
Ballot box The sealed container into which a voter places a completed ballot paper.
Ballot paper A paper that shows the questions to be put or the names of the candidates who are standing for election and on which voters mark their vote.
By-election An election held to fill a single vacancy in the House of Representatives.
Candidate A person standing for election to the House of Representatives or Senate.
Certified list The official electoral roll used to mark off voters at an election.
Claims for enrolment Application form to enrol to vote or update enrolment.
Close of rolls The date the electoral roll closes for the federal election, which is 8 pm local Australian time on the seventh calendar day after the writs are issued.
Compulsory voting The requirement for Australian citizens aged 18 years and over to enrol to vote and to vote at each election.
Constitution (Australian) The document that sets out the structure under which the Australian Government operates. It can only be amended through a referendum.
Court of Disputed Returns A court (in Australia the High Court) that determines disputes about elections.
Declaration vote Any vote where, instead of the voter being marked off the certified list, the vote is sealed in an envelope and signed by the voter and admitted to the count only after further checks are completed.
Declaration of Nominations Formal announcement of registered candidates whose names will appear on a ballot paper in an election.
Depreciation A method of allocating the cost of a tangible asset over its useful life.
Division See Electoral division.
Double dissolution election In a double dissolution election the Governor-General dissolves both the Senate and the House of Representatives at the same time, meaning every seat in both chambers is contested.
Electoral cycle The period from one federal election to the next – usually three years.
Electoral division The voting area, containing approximately equal numbers of voters, for which one member is elected to the House of Representatives. Australia is divided into 150 electoral divisions.
Electoral roll The list of people entitled to vote in an election or referendum.
Electorate See Electoral division.
Employee Member of staff who is ongoing, non-ongoing, intermittent or irregular.
Enrolment form See Claims for enrolment.
Enrolment rate The percentage of eligible electors on the electoral roll.
Federal election A general election for the House of Representatives and Senate.
Fee-for-service election An election or ballot conducted on a full cost recovery basis.
Financial disclosure return A document detailing information on the receipts and expenditure of participants in the political process.
Formality or formal vote A vote in an election or referendum where the ballot paper has been marked correctly and is counted towards the result. A ballot paper incorrectly marked is called informal.
Franchise The right to vote.
Funding and disclosure Public funding of election campaigns and disclosure of certain financial details by candidates, political parties and others.
General postal voter A voter who is registered to have postal ballot papers sent automatically.
House of Representatives The house of parliament in which the government is formed. Under a preferential voting system, each electoral division elects one member of the House of Representatives.
Inventory balance The worth of held goods and materials.
Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) The parliamentary committee that reports on, and refers inquiries into, matters relating to electoral laws, practices and administration.
Member Any person elected to parliament, but commonly used for the House of Representatives.
Mobile polling team Polling officials who bring polling to hospitals, nursing homes and remote locations.
Nomination Submission for candidacy for election to the Senate or House of Representatives.
Operating deficit Financial status in which expenditure exceeds revenue.
Ordinary vote A vote cast on or before election day within the electoral division in which the voter is enrolled.
Out-posted centres Premises leased for critical election activities during election periods, usually because there is limited space to undertake these activities in AEC offices.
Plebiscite In Australia, this is an issue put to the vote which does not affect the Constitution. Can also be referred to as a simple national vote.
Poll An election – a count of votes or opinions.
Polling day The day fixed for the election.
Polling place A location for people to vote.
Postal vote Ballot papers sent to a voter and posted back.
Preferential voting A system of voting where a voter shows an order of preference for candidates by numbering their choices.
Pre-poll vote A vote cast before election day.
Protected action ballot A workplace voting system whereby employees participate in a fair and secret ballot to determine whether industrial action should proceed in their workplace.
Provisional vote Vote cast at a polling place where the elector’s name cannot be found on the roll, the name has been marked off, or the voter has a silent enrolment.
Redistribution A re-drawing of electoral boundaries to ensure (as closely as possible) the same number of voters in each electoral division.
Referendum A vote to change the Constitution.
Returned candidate Candidate who is officially declared elected by a returning officer.
Returning officer The person responsible for conducting an election in a particular area. A divisional returning officer is responsible for conducting the House of Representatives election in their electoral division. An Australian Electoral Officer is the returning officer for the Senate election in their state or territory.
Registered political party A party registered with the AEC under Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
Revenue appropriations Federal funds set aside each year for specific government programs.
Roll The list of people entitled to vote in an election or referendum.
Scrutineer Someone nominated by a candidate to watch the counting, or scrutiny of votes.
Scrutiny The counting of votes is also known as the scrutiny.
Secret ballot A vote made in secret.
Senate The house of parliament representing the states. A total of 76 senators are elected – 12 from each state and two from each territory – under a proportional representation system.
Silent elector A voter whose address does not appear on the electoral roll, for reasons of personal safety.
Turnout The percentage of people who voted in the election (formal and informal votes as a percentage of eligible enrolled electors).
Vote To choose a representative, or indicate a preference, in an election.
Writ A document commanding an electoral officer to hold an election, containing dates for the close of rolls, the close of nominations, the election day and the return of the writ.