It's official: The 2019 Federal Election will be held on May 18. If you're not partial to democracy sausages and would prefer to avoid the crowds on election day, it's possible to cast your vote early. Here are the details.
There are a bunch of reasons you might not want to head to the polls on May 18. Maybe you're travelling overseas or to a remote location in Australia. Maybe mobility is an issue for you. Or maybe you just don't want to deal with all those pushy volunteers and their how-to-vote cards.
Fortunately, it's possible to cast your Auspol vote early if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- are outside the electorate where you are enrolled to vote
- are more than 8km from a polling place
- are travelling
- are unable to leave your workplace to vote
- are seriously ill, infirm or due to give birth shortly (or caring for someone who is)
- are a patient in hospital and can't vote at the hospital
- have religious beliefs that prevent you from attending a polling place
- are in prison serving a sentence of less than three years or otherwise detained
- are a silent elector
- have a reasonable fear for your safety
"Travelling" is broad and vague enough to cover pretty much everyone, so there's nothing stopping you from voting ahead of the election. Here are the chief options available to you, as outlined on the Australian Electoral Commission website:
How to vote at early voting centres
"If you can’t get to a polling place on election day you can vote at an early voting centre in Australia."
A list of early voting centres will be announced in the next few weeks. We'll be updating this article with the list as soon as it becomes available.
How to vote from overseas
"If you’re overseas during the federal election period, you can vote at an overseas voting centre or by post."
A list of overseas voting centres will be available in the weeks after a federal election is announced. We'll be updating this article with the list as soon as it becomes available.
How to vote through the post
If you want to mail your vote to the Electoral Commission, you need to apply for a postal vote. You can find step-by-step instructions here.
Once you have completed your application, the AEC will confirm receipt of your application via email or SMS. You will also be given an approximate date for when you should receive your ballot papers in the mail.
Applications for postal votes close at 6pm on 15 May, 2019. (Note: If you receive your ballot papers after May 18, your vote will still count - provided the AEC receives it within 13 days after the federal election.)