Election Day Roundup: Our Best Hacks For A Painless Vote

Election Day Roundup: Our Best Hacks For A Painless Vote

From how to vote below the line to locating the nearest sausage sizzle -- these are the hacks you need to be aware of during this Saturday's federal election (7 September).

Voting picture from Shutterstock

  • How Voting For The Senate Works In Australia: Ever wondered why Senate voting papers are so large, or how minor parties are sometimes elected? This in-depth article explains how voting for the senate actually works in Australia.
  • Ask LH: Should I Bother Being On The Electoral Roll?: If you don't care about voting, are there actually any downsides to not being on the electoral roll? And what kind of fines do you get if you refuse to vote? This Ask LH question tactfully answers these questions -- be sure to check out the lively readers' debate at the bottom!
  • ElectionLeaflets.Org.Au Back For 2013 Campaign: One of our favourite online election resources is ElectionLeaflets.org.au, which collects together scans of the leaflets sent out by every candidate and party it could find. Click here for more info.
  • Find Your Nearest Election Sausage Sizzle: Being in a democracy is awesome -- so make sure you celebrate in style this weekend by scoffing a sausage sammich. If you're planning to indulge in a pre- or post-voting snack, this guide will direct you to your nearest election sausage sizzle.
  • How To Vote Before The Election: If you're going to be out of town or overseas on election day, you are still legally required to vote. This can be done prior to 7 September via several different methods which are detailed here. (You better act quickly though as you only have one day left!)
  • Your Vote Has Been Cast, Not Casted: You should definitely cast your vote this weekend, but it should never be "casted". Spelling-and-grammar pedant Angus Kidman explains this common past tense snafu.
  • Earn An Extra Crust On Election Day By Signing Up As A Polling Assistant: The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) employs around 70,000 temporary employees to help out on the big day during each federal election. Available positions include polling assistants, office temps and voter information officers with employees earning up to several hundred dollars a day. It's probably too late to get hired for tomorrow but it can't hurt to apply -- at the very least, it means you'll be getting in nice and early for next time. Click here to see how it's done.
  • Throw Your Vote Away Smartly With 'Below The Line' Website: Voting below the line allows you to control where your preferences flow, but it can be a fiddly process — especially if you take the time to research where everybody stands on key issues. This year, there are more than 50 small parties running in the election; all with differing policies, election promises and worldviews. This article provides a solution that will see you turning up to the voting booth fully prepared.
  • How The Labor And Coalition Broadband Policies Differ: A Hype-Free Explainer: If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're a big technology fan -- which makes the NBN a very important issue for you. This opinion piece attempts to explain how the Labor and Coalition broadband policies differ in easy-to-understand language.


    • I usually go late as possible and the place is like a wasteland, in and out in 5 minutes, but I’ve heard others say it’s different where they are.

    • I voted at an Early Polling station this morning… it’d be worth seeing if there are any still open near you.

    • thats easy…… vote in the 2 weeks before hand like i always do….. tell them you need to work that day….. never anyone in there…. walk in and out in a few minutes

  • Vote 1: Lifehacker.

    “If you vote for LH, we’ll make the word “Sammich” the law in Australia!”

    (You’ve got my vote!)

  • Wow I signed up about a week ago to express my interest in working for the AEC and they just called me today the Friday before the election tomorrow and offered me a job as a polling assistant.

    • Thats pretty late in the piece. Must have had someone pull out. You will probably get a cushy job like ballot box supervisor. Not that the other jobs a polling assistant do are terribly difficult. Your booth manager will be able to handle any queries you have or any tricky situations.

  • Got any advice for us working as polling assistants tomorrow? First time doing it, so should be interesting I guess..

    • Make sure you’re prepared for a long day. Bring a bottle of water or 2 and some snacks. The rest, just go with the flow. Generally its a pretty easy day. If you have a good booth manager the day will go smooth as butter and hopefully the manager has organised a counting machine for the House of Reps that will make life a lot easier in the evening.

    • I did it last time (doing it this time again), and we finished late (after 11:00pm) but we were very busy non-stop all day. You can’t leave during the day, so bring your lunch and dinner with you (something you can eat quickly – say 15 minutes). Pretty straight forward, just make sure you read your manual before you turn up, on the process to follow for handing out ballot papers. People you hand ballot papers to, will try and make jokes. After you’ve heard the same one 100 times, just keep smiling and nodding. You’ll also get some young voters asking for advice such as “Where do I vote for Rudd?”, you can’t tell them.

      This is common sense, but someone at my polling place turned up wearing a T-shirt with a political slogan on it. Obviously they were made to change. The OIC brought a few spare shirts. Maybe she was expecting some to turn up with inappropriate shirts on.

  • I had the ultimate hack for a painless vote but you can’t use it until next election.
    Apply for an Absentee vote from the AEC. it takes a few minutes and they send out the paperwork and envelope. When you receive it take your time to fill it in and return it before the due date which is 13 days after the election.
    I might get around to voting some time next week.

  • I always found going mid-afternoon is the quietest in my area.
    A lot of people like to vote in the morning, so it’s out of the way.

    I was lucky this year that the nearest booth to me wasn’t very well publicised, and wasn’t the state school which normally has a booth. I didn’t have to wait in line, and there was only one party handing out how to vote cards.

    When the official asked, “Have you voted before in this election”
    I said, “Nope, once is enough.” (cliche, I know)
    I followed that up with, “You probably hear that a lot.”
    He said, “We haven’t had many people here.”

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