Distributing how-to-vote cards


Resource title: Australian federal election, 1984: Distributing how-to-vote cards

Digital resource identifier: R7000

Resource description
A photograph taken at the entrance of a voting booth in a remote Australian town.

Stage of schooling: Upper Primary

CCE focus:Government and Law


How-to-vote cards are an important feature of polling day in Australian elections. They show voters how the political party or candidate would like them to vote. The laws on the use of how-to-vote cards vary between State/Territory and Commonwealth elections. In Commonwealth elections, the Australian Electoral Commission enforces the rules about the distribution of how-to-vote cards and the behaviour of card distributors. This resource can be used to stimulate discussion about voting processes at all levels of government, and to familiarise students with an important aspect of citizenship in a democracy.

Opportunities for Civics and Citizenship learning

‘Australian federal election, 1984: Distributing how to vote cards’ provides opportunities for students to:

  • understand that voting is a fundamental democratic right

  • examine the rules and protections around voting in a democracy and the reasons for their existence

  • investigate the importance of an independent electoral authority in a democracy

  • recognise that all Australians have an entitlement to vote as well as the fairness of providing a reasonable opportunity for the exercise of that right.

Ideas for the classroom

  • Ask students to share what they know about election processes in Australia and document their responses in a mind map on elections.

  • Ask them to look at the photograph and add any additional ideas to the mind map.

  • Ask students to form groups to develop criteria for ensuring fairness in the exercise of a vote.

  • Ask students to present their rules for voting, along with their justifications, to the class.

  • Develop a class set of criteria for voting fairness.

  • Ask students to assess the voting procedures for the Student Representative Council at your school to see if it meets their criteria for fairness.