Absolutely everything you need to know before you vote.

It’s been more than three months since tomorrow’s double dissolution election was first flagged and almost three whole years since the last federal election, so it’s fair to say a few of us might need a quick refresher on how to make the most of our democratic rights.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a little how-to guide for election day, with everything you’ll need to know from where to go to cast your vote to filling in your ballot paper to getting your grubby mits on the best sausage in bread.

A sort of Voting 101, if you will.

First things first, finding your local polling station.

If you’re not sure which electorate you’re enrolled in yet, all you need to do is jump on the Australian Electoral Commission website, chuck in your post code and voila!

Polling places are open between 8am and 6pm and usually located in schools, church halls and public buildings.

Google Maps has a tool that allows you to pop in your address and find the one nearest you.

More importantly, they’re also offering live updates about sausage sizzles and cake stalls so you won’t go hungry (you can register yours here).

Was there ever a hashtag more glorious than #democracysausage? Unlikely.

Voting in the lower house.

Australians vote in two ballots, the first is for the lower house or the House of Representatives.

This one is fairly straight forward just put a ‘1’ in the box next to your preferred candidate and number the remaining candidates in order of preference.


Democracy in action. Source: Getty

There are 150 seats in the lower house, whichever party secures the majority of the seats will form the next government and the leader of that party will be our new Prime Minister.

If you haven't looked into it yet, you can learn about your local candidates by plugging in your electorate on ABC's Australia Votes page.

Voting in the upper house aka the Senate.

Sadly, voting for the Senate is a little less straight forward and this year it's even more complicated than before because the rules have changed.

You'll still need to vote above or below the line BUT you'll now need to number at least six boxes above the line for the parties or groups of your choice or at lease twelve boxes below the line for individual candidates.

Here's a handy guide to making the most of your Senate vote and why it's so important.

Aside from the well known minor parties, such as the Greens, there are also any number of small, often single policy micro-parties, which aren't always what they seem.

For example this year there have been some questions about the vaccination position of the "Health Australia Party", which has top billing on ballot papers in some states.

Here's a quick guide to some of the groups you've likely never heard of, like the Pirate Party, so you can make sure you don't accidentally vote in someone you don't want.

What if I still haven't decided who to vote for?

Look, we get it and you're certainly not alone.

It's been a bloody long campaign with a lot of policies flagged, promises made and politicking done.

Here's some some of the explainers we've putting together on key election issues over the past eight weeks:

Everything you need to know about paid parental leave before you vote.

Everything you need to know about child care before you vote.

Everything you need to know about support for women experiencing family violence before you vote.

Everything you need to know about marriage equality before you vote.

The ABC's Vote Compass is also a quick and easy way to figure out where you sit on the political spectrum.

It will tell you which party best represents your interests, as well as providing a run down of both the major parties' policies.

Our podcast team also asked Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull for 60 seconds on why you should choose them. An elevator pitch. Shark Tank style. Sadly, Malcolm declined, so we put together one on his behalf (post continues after audio):

So that's that. And remember...

When you get to the booth tomorrow just keep one thing in mind: What would Jacob Coote do?


Now just find a TV, crack a tinnie and watch the magic of democracy to unfold before you.

Happy voting, Australia.

Feature image via Facebook: Malcolm Turnbull and Rose Jackson.