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Glossary

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 8pm 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.

Elector

A person whose name appears on an electoral roll.

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’ above.

Electronic certified list

An electronic list of eligible electors which is accessed through an electronic device to allow polling officials to efficiently search the list of eligible electors and record that an elector has been handed a ballot paper.

Employee

Member of staff that is ongoing, non-ongoing, intermittent or irregular.

Enrolment form

See ‘claims for enrolment’ above.

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

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.

Outposted centre

Premises established to house key election activities such as scrutinies and despatch and return of materials to and from polling places.

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 redrawing 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.