Check out these must-know facts before casting your vote in Victoria's state election
Victoria is going to the state polls today with nearly 2 million Victorians who have already voted. The Victorian Electoral Commission urged early voting, and a record number of people have already taken that advice. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the state election from how it works to where you can vote.
I. How does the state election work?
The Parliament of Victoria has two houses: the Legislative Assembly, which is the lower house, and the Legislative Council, which represents the upper house. The state election requires an individual to vote for one representative in their area for the lower house and five MPs in the upper house. These elected officials are referred to as Members of Parliament (MPs). The lower house has a total of 88 MPs, with each member representing a district of Victoria. The party or coalition with the majority of support in the lower house forms the Victorian Government. Currently, the Andrews Labor government has 55 seats, while the Liberal-National Coalition controls 27 seats. The Greens hold three seats, and the remaining three seats are held by independent MPs. The upper house consists of 40 MPs, with five MPs elected from each of Victoria's eight regions. The upper house MPs review legislation that has been passed by lower house MPs.
II. Are you enrolled to vote?
It is mandatory for Victorian residents over the age of eighteen to vote in the state election. Eligible residents must apply, update, or check enrolment on the VEC website. British subjects who were on an Australian electoral roll between 26 October 1983 and 26 January 1984 must enroll and vote.
III. Where are you enrolled?
The Victoria Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) underwent a review of Victoria's district and region boundaries known as a redivision. The proposed changes to electoral boundaries came into effect on 1st November. Maps of the new boundaries and an interactive tool can be found on the EBC website.
IV. How can you vote?
Voting takes place on election day from 8 am to 6 pm at polling stations throughout the state. Voters receive two ballot papers, one for each house of parliament. On the lower house ballot paper, voters need to number every box in the order of their choice. On the upper house ballot paper, voters choose between voting above the line or below the line. If voters vote above the line, they must only mark one box with a number '1' to ensure their vote is valid. In contrast, voters must number at least five boxes for their vote to be valid in case they vote below the line.
V. What If I'm Not in Victoria on election day?
Voting is not compulsory for Victorians who are not in Victoria during the election period (including election day). They must inform the VEC if they are away or overseas. Some individuals are eligible to vote by phone.
VI. How does it work for individuals with COVID-19?
COVID-positive voters who miss the postal vote application deadline have options to vote via a COVID-safe drive-through service. A drive-through voting center will be available at 149 Barries Road, Melton West, between 8 am and 6 pm. To be eligible, voters must show proof of a positive test result and remain in their vehicles. The VEC requires these individuals to retain proof of their travel if they receive an "Apparent Failure to Vote" notice.
Victoria is heading towards a critical state election, and every vote counts. Every citizen of Victoria must participate in the election and be informed about the process to cast their votes effectively. This guide has covered everything from the process of state elections to voting, enrolment, and voting with COVID-19. With this information in mind, Victorians can vote wisely and make a difference.
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