Electoral Commission Queensland

Voting system

This information is about the voting systems used for state and local government elections in Queensland. For information on the voting systems used for all federal elections please visit the Australian Electoral Commission website.

Preferential voting 

Preferential voting is the system used for all Queensland state and local government elections. Preferential voting means numbering the candidates on the ballot paper in the order of your preference. 

In a state election you must number all boxes in order of your preference, this is full preferential voting (FPV). 

In a local government election for a divided council, and when voting for the mayor in all councils, you will have the choice to vote for one, some or all candidates on the ballot paper; this is optional preferential voting (OPV). 

First-past-the-post voting

In a local government election for an undivided council you will vote using the first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system. FPTP voting means marking the box next to the required number of candidates of your choice. 

Formal and informal votes

To ensure your vote counts it is important that you correctly complete your ballot paper according to the instructions and voting system. This is called placing a formal vote. Only formal votes can be counted and contribute towards determining the election result. 

If a ballot paper is not completed correctly, according to the instructions and voting system, it is called an informal vote. An informal vote is unable to be counted and does not contribute towards determining the election result. 

Some reasons a ballot paper is informal are because:

  • it is blank or unmarked,
  • ticks or crosses have been used when numbering in order of preferences is required,
  • the required number of boxes have not been marked, or 
  • it has writing on it which identifies the elector. 

Information about how to place a formal vote is always provided at the top of the ballot paper. Please read these instructions carefully to ensure that your vote is counted and contributes towards the election result.