Why It Might Not Be A Good Idea To Put Glitter In Your Marriage Vote Envelope

We're on the fence with this one.

11 August 2017

Article heading image for Why It Might Not Be A Good Idea To Put Glitter In Your Marriage Vote Envelope

With the same-sex marriage postal vote looming, one persistent message has emerged on social media.

Australians have been encouraging their friends to return their voting envelopes filled with glitter to show their support for marriage equality. 


However while this sounds good in theory, there could be a few issues. And while we don't want to dissuade anyone from sharing their opinions, we do want to make sure that your votes count. 

Some people have questioned whether an envelope full of glitter could cause votes to be considered invalid or informal. 



Others have suggested that Australia Post might not accept the envelopes in the mail if there is glitter inside them, or that they might be destroyed. 



In a regular election an informal or invalid vote is defined in the following way by the Australian Electoral Commission:

A vote is regarded as informal if the ballot paper has not been completed properly. Informal ballot papers are not counted towards any candidate but are set aside.

According to section 268 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act (1918), a vote is informal if:

  • the ballot paper is not marked at all
  • the ballot paper does not have the official mark and has not been initialled by the polling official, and the ballot paper is not authentic in the opinion of the Divisional Returning Officer (DRO)
  • the ballot paper has writing on it which identifies the voter
  • in the case of an absent vote, the ballot paper is not contained in the declaration envelope
  • in the House of Representatives, the voter has not completed a full preferential vote
  • in the Senate, if the voter has not filled at least six boxes above the line or at least 12 boxes below the line
  • there are savings measures to keep formal some ballot papers marked incompletely or incorrectly.


We reached out to the Australian Electoral Commission for further information, and they informed us that although they are assisting with voter enrolment the survey itself will be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

Surprisingly, the ABS does not have any formal policies on its website about envelopes full of glitter. We have reached out to the ABS for further comment and will update when we receive it. 

With this in mind, if you want to make sure your vote is accepted it might be a good idea to keep your ballot paper completely clean, with no extra comment. You want to make sure that your vote counts. Save the glitter for later. 

You can check if you are enrolled to vote here and change your details if needed.

Listen Live!