The Australian Parliament has two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is a house of review but can and does block legislation from the the House of Reps. Each state is represented by 12 elected Senators and while the process is complicated, it does allow smaller parties to be represented. Our two major territories have two Senate representatives each.
I am walking on the wild side here, but each state has its own independent electoral commission and they are responsible for state, local government and I think union elections as well as others.
When we vote for our Federal government, the election is conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission, again an independent body. This is a good thing compared to the US where Federal Elections are conducted by states, each with their own styles and methods.
In theory each vote for House of Reps should be equal. I am rather puzzled that in the US your vote in Wyoming can have a greater weight than say in the hotbed of communism, California. Australia is divided into electorates which is direct voting for candidates by numbers and the party of your choice. In theory we do not elect a Prime Minister, but of course who is leading a party and will become PM influences the vote.
Every so often and hopefully in an unbiased manner, our electoral commission adjusts the boundaries of electorates to take into account changing populations. That is the more people live in this area so they get more vote weight, and these people who are living where population is declining, they receive less weight. It is not perfect nor always timely, but it does correct over time.
Come election day, you may have voted by mail, or maybe pre polled at a designated voting office. But the vast majority of us buy a Democracy Barbequed Sausage, with onions and tomato sauce (ketchup), or a cake from a primary school fundraiser stall and consume them as we line up to vote. In the past your name on the electoral role was crossed out as you received your ballot papers, now it is marked off on tablet style computers. It matters little if you vote left or right. It is all quite convivial. You vote in privacy in a flimsy cardboard booth and deposit your votes into the appropriated two boxes.
So, you have performed your democratic duty and if you haven't done any of the above, unless you have a good excuse, you will be fined if you haven't voted. Many are. Voting in Federal, State and local elections is compulsory. Actually, it is getting your name ticked off as having attended is compulsory. You don't have to vote, just attend or return you mailed ballot papers.
The newly elected House of Reps party may claim victory that night and the opposition may concede defeat, or if close, it may take a day or two to get a result. The Senate result often takes longer for reason unknown to me.
While our system is far from perfect, I am rather pleased that there is never normally any talk of court challenges, as the Australian government is elected by perhaps over 95% of those eligible to vote and overseen by an independent authority. The rules and election laws are strictly followed.
Pretty pictures tomorrow.
Later edit: Of course this all counts for nothing while The Queen via her non elected Governor General or State Governors can at the stroke of a pen sack any of our politicians.