Your guide to voting in the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite

It has been 40 years since Australians last voted in a national plebiscite.

So you would be forgiven for not knowing how such a process actually works.

What makes things even murkier is that the November 25 plebiscite on same-sex marriage will be a non-compulsory postal plebiscite.

This means citizens will have the option to cast their vote via the post on whether or not Australia should legalise same-sex marriage.


The federal government’s proposal has provoked some controversy, insofar as a plebiscite is non-binding.

Ultimately, parliamentarians will not be required to take heed of the result when they cast their own votes following the plebiscite.

Rather, the process is being used to gauge public sentiment on the issue of same-sex marriage.

The postal plebiscite is being overseen by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

It will be conducted through the Australian Electoral Commission’s electoral roll.

Envelopes containing the survey form will be sent to the homes of everyone who is on the electoral roll.

You will need to make sure you are enrolled to vote with the AEC, just as you would in the lead-up to a federal election.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has directed the ABS to impose an August 24 cut-off date for enrolments to vote in the postal plebiscite.

To enrol, visit the AEC website and fill in the online enrolment form.

An AEC spokesman said the sooner you do this, the better.

“Do it now and you're good to go,” he said.

You will need to provide proof of your identity in order to enrol, such as a copy of your driver’s licence.

Even if you have enrolled to vote in the past, you may still need to update your enrolment.

This would apply to you if you had recently changed your address or your name.

If your details are up to date and you are enrolled to vote, you will be eligible to cast your vote in the postal plebiscite, according to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

“All Australians who are enrolled on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll will get the opportunity to express their views,” he said.

Independent Denison MHR Andrew Wilkie launched a High Court challenge against the plebiscite on Wednesday, deeming it unconstitutional.