Not sure what you need to do on July 2 to fulfill your obligations as a citizen of Australia, or just hankering to know where to get the best feed as you do your democratic duty? We have you covered.

Where to vote

The AEC website can tell you where to vote near you, but frankly, that’s boring. If you’re voting on election day (something over 2 million of us aren’t doing because they voted early) then voting means one thing: Democracy Sausage.

If you want to know where the best selection of sausage sizzle (or tofu burgers if you live in an inner-city electorate) and cake stalls are, there are a few competing services. Democracy Sausage and SnagVotes are the two biggest. Twitter is also getting in on the action. You can tweet at @Auspolling with the hashtag #ausvotes and it’ll tell you where your nearest polling station is. You need to have geolocation services turned on for your tweet, which might not be the best, security-wise.

How to vote

Voting for the House of Representatives is the same. You can pick your choice as No. 1 and then number all the other boxes up to the end (the highest number of candidates running in any seat is 11). Under legislation passed just before the election was called, there’s a change to the way we vote in the Senate now.

For the white Senate ballot paper, voters must number at least six boxes above the line now. If you want to vote below the line, you used to have to fill out every single box (in Victoria this means 116 spots), but now all you need to do is number a minimum of 12.

Kenneth Tsang, who goes by Jxeeno on Twitter, has put together a very useful tool on to help you decide your preferences. Once you’ve selected your state, you get a list of the parties and can group them sequentially from your highest preference to “no, that party should definitely not be elected”. After that it’ll give you a list of individual candidates so if there’s a party you want to rank high, but a candidate in that party you don’t particularly like, you can drop them down, and it’ll adjust your preferences accordingly.

It’ll also allow you to print it out in the order it would appear on the ballot paper, so you can take it into the polling booth and not get too confused numbering all the boxes.

Not too sure about the parties you’ll be voting for?

You’ve probably done the Vote Compass or its Fairfax counterpart to see where your politics sit with the big three parties, but if you’re not sure about some of the minor parties running in this election, our guide to the minors should be some help.

What to watch

Polls close at 6pm, and the endless night of media coverage starts soon after. Our friends at Daily Review have done a write-up of the options on television for the night. Leigh Sales is taking over the ABC captaincy for ABC coverage from Kerry O’Brien for the first time. Channel Seven has decided that the combination of Mark Latham and Jacqui Lambie would be fun, for some reason. Nine has Amanda Vanstone and Peter Costello. That could be fun if Kelly O’Dwyer loses Costello’s old seat.

Sky News has Alan Jones. And for some reason Paul Murray got the midnight shift between 12am and 2am. That should be … something.

The Crikey crew will be running a live blog across the night with our journalists keeping track of all the results from the Crikey bunker, and out at the election night parties for the Coalition in Sydney, Labor at the glamorous Moonee Valley Racing Club, and the Greens at the Forum in Melbourne.

William Bowe has a guide put together for the seats to watch, and there is a drinking game we have prepared if you’re looking for a big night.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey