Australians are voting in the Voice to Parliament referendum, with polls in some eastern states now closed.

The referendum is about a proposal to amend the Australian Constitution to recognise Indigenous Australians and establish an advistory body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

A double majority is needed to succeed. That means, for the vote to pass a majority of states must vote Yes as well as a majority of Australians.

So when can we expect a result?

Postal voting could complicate matters, but there may be indications of which way Australia has voted as early as 7.30pm AEDT.

You can follow our live coverage of the Voice referendum results here.

Possibility of long delay

Results will be flooding in soon, but in the worst case scenario, there could be an anxious wait for Australians for the result to be announced.

Postal and overseas votes have up to 13 days to be received and counted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), meaning the results may not be finalised until October 27.

And, according to the AEC, postal vote applications are close to 1.2 million.

An AEC spokesperson told the commission does not know when a result would be clear, as it depended on how the numbers fell and if there was an overwhelming result on either side.

“We strictly will not be able to open ballot boxes until 6pm (on October 14),” they said. “From 6pm, votes will begin to be counted and results will be shared live as they come in.”

According to the AEC, smaller voting places are expected to have outcomes fairly quickly.

Australians last participated in a referendum in 1999, when they were asked to vote on two proposed laws to alter the constitution. It was clear on referendum night that there would not be a double majority, with overwhelming results in opposition of the two-part proposal.

In 2017, Australians were again asked to partake in a national vote – a plebiscite to legalise same-sex marriage. Unlike the upcoming referendum, the plebiscite was an optional postal vote that was open between September 12 and November 7.

Despite a profound majority in favour of the proposal, it took seven days for a result to be announced, reaching the public on November 15.

The plebiscite confirmed Australia’s want for participation in democracy, receiving votes from 79.52 per cent of eligible voters. Prior to the eligibility cutoff date, a record 98,000 new voters had added themselves to the role to have their say.

The Australian Electoral Commission has seen the largest enrolment in history ahead of the referendum, with a record 97.7 per cent of Aussies set to vote on the Voice.

It is our youngest generations who are leading the charge, with a whopping 91.4 per cent increase in 18 to 24-year-olds enrolling to vote.

This means more than 1.8 million young Aussies will be having their say in their first referendum.

The enrolment of First Nations people is also the highest it has ever been, sitting at 94.1 per cent. This is the first time in Australia’s history it has been above 90 per cent.

This is compared to an enrolment rate of 74.7 per cent in 2017, with the past six months alone accounting for about half of the increase.

There are about 60,000 more Indigenous Australians enrolled to vote than there were at the end of 2022.

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