Some considerations for casting a ballot early in the upcoming federal election.

Barbara Macgregor, who lives in an aged care facility in Sydney, has never missed an election. Due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19, the elderly woman, who is now 83 years old, will not be able to cast her vote in person this year, nor will a mobile polling team be able to visit her.
Instead, the employees at Ms. Macgregor's care home have been keeping themselves busy by submitting applications for residents to receive postal ballots.
Since I turned 21 years old, I have never missed an opportunity to cast my vote. However, given that I am unable to leave the house, I believe that voting by mail is the best option," she says.
Barbara Macgregor sitting outside her aged care home in Sydney
People are encouraged to "plan their vote" by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to statements made by the AEC. People are encouraged to take into account their own personal circumstances when doing so.
Anyone who had a positive test for COVID-19 beginning at six o'clock Friday 13 May qualifies to cast a vote a telephone vote
Concerns that some COVID-positive Australians would be unable to vote in the election prompted the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to formally expand the service on Friday.
Previously, those people who tested positive after 6 o'clock on Tuesday, May 17 could vote by phone. Those individuals who had a positive test result prior to that day, who had not voted early, and who would be in isolation until the day of the election were required to submit an application for a postal vote.
The deadline for submitting applications to vote by mail was Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., which prompted concerns among those who had missed the opportunity to do so but did not meet the requirements for voting by telephone.
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According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), people must register to vote via telephone by 4 o'clock on election day. (21 May) Vote-by-phone lines will be available until 6 o'clock on that particular day.
There is a good reason to vote early, and that reason is the possibility of contracting COVID-19. Pre-polling began on 9 May
However, you will first need to register with the AEC, and applications will be accepted until 8:00 p.m. on 18 April
Early voting will begin approximately two weeks before election day, but a spokesperson for the AEC has stated that voters who are able to cast their ballots on election day should do so instead of participating in early voting.
"We will have more COVID safety measures in place than your typical visit to the neighborhood grocery store, so you can come on down without worrying about your well-being." ”
According to Mr. Ekin-Smyth, there are a variety of situations in which early voting is permissible.
"It's possible that you'll be working on election day; you might have a long-standing medical appointment; and I've heard of cases in which people were scheduled to give birth on election day." These are the kinds of situations that people will need to evaluate for themselves. ”
Voting early is something you should consider doing if you have a reasonable fear for your safety, which can include a fear of contracting COVID-19.
There are a few different ways that you can submit your ballot ahead of time.
According to the AEC, there will be a greater number of 500 locations for the early voting process available across the entirety of Australia They will be available to the public as soon as pre-voting begins on May 9th.
On the day of the election, if you are unable to vote in person at a polling place, you have the option of voting absentee. by post
You have until the Wednesday before the election to submit your application to vote by mail. 18 May ), and the Australian Electoral Commission has a period of time of thirteen days after the election to receive your ballot.
Polling stations on wheels may also visit voters who are unable to get to a polling place, such as people living in residential aged care facilities and people living in remote areas of Australia, but it may depend on the restrictions that COVID-19 has in place.
Another approach that has the potential to play a much larger role in future elections is the use of telephone voting During the election in 2019, a total of only 2,044 people voted by phone.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or come into close contact with someone who is infected with it in the two days leading up to the election or on election day, you will be required to cast your vote via telephone.
Mr. Ekin-Smyth says that this requires a dual registration process, with one interaction in which you are marked off the roll and receive a unique code, and then a second interaction in which you cast your vote, in order to maintain the confidentiality of the ballot.
In order to use the service, voters are required to sign a declaration.
"This is a precaution in case of an emergency." It won't be easy at all. People who think this is a convenient option and can just call up won't be able to do so because the wait on the line will be longer than the wait in line at a polling place. ”
In contrast to elections held in the United States and other countries, there will be no provision for voting electronically in the upcoming federal election in Australia.
There are voting options available for Australian citizens living outside of the country, with 19 voting centers set up in other countries. Consular representation of Australia everywhere in the world
Even if you are unable to travel to one of those polling places, you will still be able to cast your vote. by post
Rose Dearinger is a 21-year-old Australian citizen who lives in London, which is one of the cities that will have polling places open to the public.
She says, "As a young person, I desire to travel, and I desire to see the world."
"But just because I'm doing that doesn't mean I have no interest in what's happening in my own country." My interests in politics stem from the fact that I majored in the subject in college. ”
Rose Dearinger stands between two red buses on a street in London
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has stated that it is committed to ensuring that voting is accessible to all Australians. As part of this commitment, the AEC has launched an advertising campaign that has been translated into 33 languages, in addition to 18 Indigenous languages.
At each polling place, there will be a flipbook containing instructions in a variety of languages, as well as a ballot. in the interest of assisting people whose native language is not English
  • 18 April – electoral rolls close
  • 9 May – the beginning of early voting
  • 18 May – postal vote applications close
  • 21 May – election day The polls open at 8 am and remain open until 6 pm.
  • 3 June – the last day that votes cast by mail can be received
According to Mr. Ekin-Smyth, the AEC has a close working relationship with Australia Post, and there are arrangements in place for the storage and transportation of ballot papers in order to count votes in secure areas.
Voting ballots feature tamper-proof watermarks, which are scrutinized at each and every stage of the process. However, compared to the typical rate of 8% of votes cast via postal ballot, an increase due to the pandemic is anticipated.
According to Mr. Ekin-Smyth, "We are catering for a large increase because we have to cater for all eventualities." "We have to cater for all eventualities."
"I believe it could be a modest increase, possibly falling somewhere in the range of ten to fifteen percent," the speaker said.
"There's a catch with any vote that we have in an envelope, whether it's a postal vote or something that was cast from overseas or anywhere else in the country," she said. If more votes are cast using paper ballots rather than electronic voting machines, it will be more difficult to predict who will form the next government on election night. That is merely a plain and obvious fact. ”
The postal vote count means that there may not be an immediate result in the election if it comes down to a handful of seats that are considered to be competitive.
It is possible that we will have to wait the full 13 days for those postal votes to get back to us in order to decide the outcome of any races that are close. ”
At the polling place, you can register to vote. You can also get more information by calling the AEC at the number 13 23 26.
Do you have an election question you'd like answered Or perhaps you have a story you'd like us to cover. Email 
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