Federal election 2019: Your complete election day in the ACT guide

If you're reading this, congratulations. You've survived the onslaught of TV ads, sea of corflutes and ran the gauntlet of campaigning politicians and volunteers to make it to the end of the federal election campaign.

You can practically taste the goodness of a democracy sausage already, but before you cast your ballot, here's everything you need to know for election day.

When do I vote?

Unless you've been living under rock, or blissfully avoiding all things federal politics (which isn't such a bad idea), election day is this Saturday, May 18.

Polling booths across the country will open to voters at 8am and close at 6pm.

You must vote in the electorate you are registered to vote in.

If you're still in line at 6pm, you'll still be able to cast your ballot.

Voting is compulsory. There is a $20 fine for people on the roll who don't cast a vote.

What if I can't make it?

You can still cast your ballot if you can't make it to a polling place on Saturday, although you might miss out on the sweet taste of a democracy sausage.

If you want to be part of the growing number of Australians casting their vote early, you can do it at a pre-poll location, which can be found here.

Voters lining up at a pre-poll centre. Picture: Justin McManus.

Voters lining up at a pre-poll centre. Picture: Justin McManus.

You can also apply for a postal vote here, and you have 13 days after the election for your postal vote to be received.

If you're interstate on the day, you can vote at an interstate polling place.

What electorate am I in?

Canberra's getting an extra lower house seat at the election due to the expanding population.

Federal electorate map of the ACT. Picture: Australian Electoral Commission

Federal electorate map of the ACT. Picture: Australian Electoral Commission

If you live in Gungahlin or most of Belconnen, your electorate is Fenner.

The suburbs include Bonner, Harrison, Franklin, Throsby, Forde, Amaroo, Gungahlin, Palmerston, Crace, Nicholls, Ngunnawal, Casey, Moncrieff, Jacka, Spence, McKellar, Evatt, Fraser, Dunlop, Charnwood, Macgregor, Holt, Higgins, Scullin, Page, Florey and Belconnen.

If you live in the inner north and inner south or parts of Woden and Belconnen, you'll be voting in the seat of Canberra.

The suburbs include Watson, Lyneham, Downer, Hackett, Dickson, Ainslie, O'Connor, Turner, Acton, Civic, Braddon, Reid, Russell, Campbell, Majura, Fyshwick, Parkes, Barton, Kingston, Griffith, Narrabundah, Red Hill, Deakin, Forrest, Yarralumla, Curtin, Lyons, Hughes, Garran, Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Weetangera, Hawker, Bruce, Lawson, Kaleen and Giralang.

Voters in Tuggeranong and Weston Creek and parts of Woden are in the newest electorate of Bean.

Those suburbs include Phillip, O'Malley, Chifley, Pearce, Torrens, Farrer, Isaacs, Fisher, Chapman, Rivett, Stirling, Weston, Holder, Duffy, Wright, Coombs, Denman Prospect, Kambah, Waniassa, Fadden, Oxley, Greenway, Monash, Gowrie, Macarthur, Gilmore, Chisholm, Richardson, Calwell, Theodore, Banks, Conder, Gordon, and Bonython.

Who are the candidates?

There will be eight candidates contesting the seat of Bean, while six will contest Canberra and five in Fenner.

A total of 17 candidates will be vying for the two spots in the Senate.

You can read our profiles for each of the electorates.

And you can see read a few words from candidates in each ACT contest here.

How do I vote?

We're not going to tell you who to vote for, that's a decision entirely up to you.

A ballot paper for the federal election. Picture: Bianca De Marchi

A ballot paper for the federal election. Picture: Bianca De Marchi

But in order for your vote to count, the ballot paper needs to be filled out correctly.

When you get your name marked off the electoral roll at the polling place, you'll get two ballot papers. You'll get a small green one for the House of Representatives and a white one for the Senate.

On the House of Representatives ballot, you need to put a 1 next to the candidate who's your first choice, a 2 next to your second choice and so on until every box is numbered.

For the Senate you have two options. You can vote above the line for the political party of your choice (and let it work out where your preferences flow) or below the line for the candidates of your choice.

If you vote above the line, you must put a 1 next to the party of your first choice and so on until you have numbered at least six boxes. You can keep going to as many numbers as you like after that, provided you have at least preferences from one to six.

If you vote below the line, you must put a 1 next to the candidate of your first choice and so on until you have numbered at least 12 boxes. You can, of course keep numbering as many boxes as you like after that.

What about those how-to-vote cards and preferences?

You'll see a whole bunch of campaigners for candidates on your way in to the ballot box handing out cards telling you how to vote?

That's only the party's preference on how the ballot papers should be filled out to be advantageous for that particular candidate. It often comes down to deals made by each party's backroom players.

The how-to-vote cards are only a guideline laid out by the party or candidate; you have no obligation at all to follow it if you don't want to. And your vote will still count for the party of your choice if you ignore its recommendations for preferences.

Where do I vote?

Most primary schools or community halls are polling places on election day.

Old Parliament House is one of the largest voting booths in the ACT. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Old Parliament House is one of the largest voting booths in the ACT. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Old Parliament House will also be turned into a polling place on the day, and one the largest voting spaces.

You can find out where your nearest polling place is here.

Where can I get my democracy sausage?

Let's be honest, this is the most important question for election day. The humble sausage sizzle is indeed democracy manifest and wouldn't be an election without it.

The democracy sausage is an integral part of election day. Picture: Justin McManus

The democracy sausage is an integral part of election day. Picture: Justin McManus

There's also a whole website dedicated to finding where your nearest democracy sausage is on the day, which can be found here.

Onion on top?

Of course, with tomato sauce.