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Involuntary patients and capacity to vote

16 May 2016

Under section 201 of the Mental Health Act 1996, a psychiatrist, who made a person an involuntary patient who was enrolled as an elector under the Western Australian Electoral Act 1907 or Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, had also to determine whether the person was capable of making judgements, to comply with the provision related to compulsory voting.

The psychiatrist could determine that the involuntary patient was or was not capable of exercising such judgement and inform the Chief Psychiatrist who notified the Electoral Commissioner of the person’s incapacity.

Following a recommendation from the Holman Review (2003) the Mental Health Act 2014 contains no such provision.

However, an elector may be removed from the Electoral Roll where a registered medical practitioner has certified in writing using the Objection to Electoral Enrolment Medical Certificate available at: or;

that the person is incapable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting.

The medical practitioner must contact the Commission on 13 63 06 or (08) 9214 0400 or by e-mail to

Section 51A of the Western Australian Electoral Act 1907 or corresponding section in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, provides for the Electoral Commissioner to remove the name of a person from the roll because of physical incapacity, mental illness or mental disorder.


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