2019 is an election year in Australia, with that comes a lot of education and re-education of voters. Naturally, Australians have questions when it comes to casting their votes in Federal Elections.
Australian federal elections are peculiar and unlike most other democratic nations. The main reason being our compulsory voting rule that requires all eligible Australians 18 and above to enrol and vote in referendums, by-elections, and federal elections.
Today, we will look into a few of the most frequently asked questions about Australian federal elections and answer them as best as we can.
Absence of Electronic voting
If and when the Australian Parliaments legislated Electoral Act evolves to provide for voting or aspects of the process by electronic means, the Australian Election Commission would be ready to introduce electronic voting to all federal elections.
Efforts are being made to ensure that when the time comes for electronic voting, we will be as ready as possible.
Failure to Vote
Due to voting being a compulsory exercise in Australia, every Australian citizen that fulfils all the requirements must vote or risk facing a fine from the AEC.
If you failed to vote at the last election, you will need to provide a valid and sufficient reason why you failed to vote otherwise you will be given a fine for $20.
What is a Valid Reason not to Vote
After providing a valid and sufficient reason as to why you failed to vote, it is at the discretion of your Divisional Returning officer to determine whether or not your reasons for not voting are valid and sufficient enough after considering your particular case.
Incorrect Name at Polling Station
A lot of the time, your name can be misspelled at your polling station; this can be as a result of one or more of the following.
Your name appears twice on the certified list, your name is misspelled, or your name changed as a result of deed poll, marriage.
If your address has changed since the last time you enrolled to vote, you will be asked to verify your previous address to ensure that you are the right person being marked off and not someone that shares the same name as you.
You willl also be required to complete a new enrolment form to help officials update your details on the electoral roll.
Secret balloting means that the votes you cast are made anonymously. Secret ballot voting is a very effective method of preventing voter intimidation by third parties and protecting voter privacy
Assistance to Vote
Assistance can be provided to you if your polling officer is satisfied that you are unable to vote unaided. Elderly, non-literate, people with a disability and electors from diverse backgrounds may seek help on Election Day.
You can nominate anyone to assist you in voting as long as they are not a candidate. If you fail to nominate someone, the official in charge of polling will help you.
When the polls close, only ordinary votes are counted on election night. These are ordinary votes cast at a polling unit where the elector’s name is marked off the electoral roll at the time of voting.
Polling officials are required to count the first preference on House of Representatives and Senate ballot papers.
Voting early in person is possible at any AEC divisional office or early voting centre before the Election Day.
To vote via post, you can apply for a postal vote application form from any AEC office or via the AEC website; once your application is processed, you will be sent your ballot papers.
After the election process is concluded, the Australian Electoral Commission facilitates the recycling of cardboard voting equipment.
A large percentage of electoral equipment is made out of easily recyclable cardboard. Cardboard equipment is sorted and prepared for the next federal election.
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