Electoral Commission of Queensland

Voting System

This information is about the voting systems used for state and local government elections in Queensland.

Preferential voting

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. It means marking the box next to the required number of candidates of your choice.

For example if four candidates are to be elected to council, voters must mark four boxes on the ballot paper.

Formal and informal votes

To ensure your vote counts, follow the instructions on the top of your ballot paper and complete it accordingly. This is called placing a formal vote. Only formal votes can be counted and contribute to the election result.

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

A ballot paper may be deemed informal for a number of reasons including:

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

For information on the voting systems used for federal elections please visit the Australian Electoral Commission website.