The NSW state election will take place on Saturday, 23 March. If you're not partial to democracy sausages and would prefer to avoid the polling booth crowds you may be able to vote online instead. Intrigued? Here's everything you need to cast a digital vote in the NSW state election.
This year, approximately 1.5 million people - or more than 30 per cent of the electorate - are expected to get their votes in early. This includes electronic voting via the online iVote system.
How to vote online
Filling out the application is pretty straightforward - the main things you'll need are your date of birth and current residential address. Providing additional proof of identification (such as your passport, driver licence or Medicare details) is optional. You'll also need to come up with a password that will be used to cast your vote.
After you have completed your application, the Electoral Commission will send you an iVote number by the method you selected (SMS, email, post, or telephone call.) You need to use this and your elected password to cast your vote. As with the physical ballot, you can choose to vote Above the Line or Below the Line when using iVote.
All in all, the process takes around ten minutes, although you should definitely spend some time researching the various parties and candidates before casting your vote. (Note that you only have until 1pm AEDT on March 23 to apply for an iVote.)
How to check your vote went through
After you have voted, you can visit the iVote website and enter your receipt to confirm that your vote was received. However, your actual selections can only be viewed for one hour after voting. So check early if you're worried that your vote wasn't recorded as intended.
Who is eligible for iVote?
Before you dive in, there's a big caveat to be aware of. Currently, to use iVote you need to fulfil one or more of the following criteria:
- are blind or have low vision
- are unable to vote without assistance or have difficulty voting at a voting centre because you have a disability or have difficulties reading
- are a silent elector
- live more than 20km from a voting centre
- will be interstate or overseas during election day
If you're trying to avoid the polling booth, selecting an interstate trip is your best bet here. It's worth noting that the iVote registration form doesn't ask for any evidence to corroborate your interstate trip.
Now, we're not saying you should lie to the NSW Electoral Commission (in fact, doing so is potentially against the law.) But it's good to know your interstate holiday destination remains entirely private.