#AusPol Elections: Early Voting

It\’s almost that time when we are expected back at the Polling Booths.

My 19 year old daughter has just had her first experience of voting. She did it electronically – using iVote online in the NSW State Elections a few weeks back.

At her school there was an expectation that all students would enrol to vote. And so she did.

A few years back I was shocked to discover that a close friend (no disability) was not enrolled to vote. I was even more shocked to discover, in the same conversation, that very few of my friends who have a disability ARE enrolled to vote. In a group of about 10 people, as someone enrolled to vote, I was in the minority – there were only 3 of us.

This got me thinking to way back when – when there was no requirement for anyone to enrol vote, and an expectation that people with disability would NOT enrol to vote.

I think it is time that we talk a bit more about what it means to vote, and don\’t just accept that it might be a \”bit hard\”, especially for our friends and family who have disabilities.

Having worked in a Polling Booth during a State Election and counting the ballots afterwards, there are very clear rules as to which ballots are counted, and which are not. \”Wasting\” a vote is something some people clearly do with pride. Others just muck it up – it happens, and you won’t ever know.

If you have a rough idea of which side of politics you are on, then you grab a guide as you walk in the Polling Booth, and it will step you through exactly how to vote for your \”team\”.

As a community that can be deeply impacted by policies of the Government of the Day, (just think Centrelink, NDIS, Housing, Health, Education, Justice) we are actually more politically savvy than we give ourselves credit for.

You are legally required to enrol to vote (disability or not)
– If you are an Australian Citizen,
– aged over 18 (can do it when you are 16 and 17),
– lived at your address for over a month

If you have previously been removed from the Electoral Roll on medical grounds, you can re-enrol. (will need to get a form signed by your doctor)

If you are unable to sign your name, you are required to enrol (have to get a for signed by your doctor)

If you want to avoid the Polling Booth altogether on election day, there are ways to do this –
– General Postal Vote (never have to go to a Polling Booth again if you meet certain criteria including being \”infirm\” or a \”carer\”);
– Pre-Poll at an Early Voting Centre (get in before the day)
– Wait until closer to election time to see what Alternative Methods are being used – phone/iVote. These have been trialled during other elections, and will hopefully make it into this Federal Election.

Talk to the people you know, ask them if they are enrolled to vote – as a community that is impacted by the policies of the Government of the Day, more of us need to enrol and have our say.

Find a Printable here