Aussies planning on heading overseas in October are being encouraged to plan ahead and organise how they’ll be voting in the upcoming referendum.
The Voice to Parliament referendum will be held on October 14, with ballot boxes open around the country.
If the Yes vote is successful, the Voice will provide an avenue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to advise the government on policy and legislation issues that directly impact them.
But the Australian Electoral Commission is urging anyone who will be overseas or unable to physically vote around the country on October 14 to plan how they intend to cast their vote ahead of time.
“We’re encouraging people to plan their vote now and the first step for that is to ensure you’re enrolled before the enrolment deadline at 8pm on (September 18),” Australian electoral commissioner Tom Rogers said.
Aussies overseas on October 14
For anyone who will be overseas on October 14 but still wishes to vote in person, there are 107 in-person overseas voting centres available across 80 countries.
For the full list, visit the AEC website.
While it’s not compulsory for Australians overseas to vote, the AEC explains that those travelling out of the country should complete an overseas notification form.
Mr Rogers said the service provision for people overseas was the most that had ever been provided for a federal election or referendum in Australia’s history.
“Voting in-person overseas is a great touchstone for Australians living and travelling overseas and I’m pleased and very proud to see our service provision is larger than ever,” Mr Rogers said.
“Overseas voting centres will be available during the early voting period, which commences on Monday, October 2 and will run within the two-week period leading up to referendum day.
“Please keep in mind that the opening dates and times will vary and this voting information is being published by each overseas centre progressively as arrangements are finalised.”
Meanwhile, Aussies working in Antarctica can vote by telephone, in accordance with the requirements of referendum legislation.
Another way a person can vote while overseas is organising a postal vote ahead of time.
Mr Rogers said postal votes overseas would have fast-tracked arrangements in place where possible, using point-to-point couriers for dispatch and diplomatic mail for return.
“We don’t control or operate overseas postal services – we do everything in our power to facilitate a voting service for people around the world but are conscious that for some people this just won’t be possible,” Mr Rogers said.
“If you’re close to an in-person overseas voting centre, then my advice would be to cast your vote in person.
“If you’re applying for a postal vote, do it as soon as you possibly can to provide the best chance for your ballot paper to get to you overseas in time for voting day.”
Alternative ways to vote in Australia before October 14
Voters in Australia unable to attend an in-person polling station can now apply for a postal vote.
Postal vote applications will close at 6pm on October 11 and must be completed on or before October 11.
The postal vote certificate and ballot paper must be witnessed and posted back to the AEC as soon as possible.
To be eligible to apply for a postal vote in Australia you must be:
- outside the division where you are enrolled to vote
- more than 8km from a polling place
- unable to leave your workplace to vote
- seriously ill, infirm, or due to give birth shortly (or caring for someone who is)
- a patient in hospital and can’t vote at the hospital
- unable to attend a polling place because of your religious beliefs
- in prison serving a sentence of less than three years or otherwise detained
- a silent elector
- fearing for your safety.
Early in-person voting centres will be also open in the two weeks prior to referendum day.