Pre-polling begins today. Here's all you need to know

With just weeks left until the federal election, the opportunity to have a say on Australia’s future has begun.

While most have their calendars marked for Saturday 21 May, many keen voters want to know how to beat the queue and what the options are if they can’t make it to a polling station.

The answers to your pre-polling questions are below.

Can you cast an early vote?

Yes.

Early voting opens on Monday 9 May.

Where can I vote early?

Several pre-polling booths have already been set up around the country.

You can find a list of early voting centres within your suburb on the AEC website, which will be regularly updated as more locations are confirmed. 

Be sure to check for opening hours as they may differ between weekdays and weekends.

Information on accessibility and disability support services are also stated for the different locations on the website.

How do I vote if I’m interstate?

If you are not in your home state on election day, you can cast your vote at an intestate voting centre in the area you are visiting.

You will not be able to vote at just any polling centre – it has to be one of the specific centres listed on the AEC website.

Postal votes are also a good option if travelling to a polling place is not convenient for you.

What if I’m overseas?

The AEC strongly recommends registering for a postal vote if you are outside of Australia.

Due to COVID-19, postal delays are expected so it is best to apply for it as soon as possible.

However, if you would like to cast a vote in person, you can do so in some Australian embassies and consulates.

While voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens aged over 18, you will be exempt if you are overseas.

However, you will need to inform the AEC if you are unable to vote by submitting an overseas notification form.  

How do I register for a postal vote?

Anyone unable to get to a polling centre on election day will be eligible to apply for a postal vote – whether interstate or overseas.

You can ask the AEC for a postal vote anytime before 18 May.

After lodging an application, you can also stay updated on its status and find out when you will receive the ballot papers by mail.

Ballot papers coming via post will be accepted for 13 days after the election.

Can I vote online?

No. 

However, telephone voting is available if you fall under any one of these categories:

  • if you are blind or have low vision
  • if you work in, or are in transit to or from Antarctica
  • if you have been impacted by COVID (only for the final three voting days).

If you are following COVID-19 isolation rules and cannot attend a polling booth on election day, you can apply for a postal vote up until the day before the election – and that’s 20 May.

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