Your Ultimate Guide to Voting: State, Local, and Federal Elections
Australia is a representative democracy that functions through three elected levels of government: federal, state/territory, and local. For each of these levels of government, different laws and regulations apply. As such, it is essential to be well-informed about the election process for each of these levels.
I. Federal Elections
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) manages federal government elections. To keep up to date with upcoming elections, one can visit the AEC website. The website provides critical information about the voting process and the dates of upcoming elections.
II. State and Local Elections in NSW
New South Wales (NSW) Electorate Commission manages local and state government elections. One can visit their website to stay informed on the dates of upcoming elections.
III. Eligibility to Vote
To vote, one must be enrolled to do so. A person that meets the eligibility criteria, which includes being an Australian citizen or a British citizen who enrolled to vote before January 25, 1984, who are over the age of 18, can vote. It is important to vote in all federal, state, and local government elections, by-electing, and referendums by enrolling only once to vote for all three levels of government.
IV. Enrolling to Vote
It is easy to enroll to vote in Australia. One can enroll upon reaching 16 years of age, although you have to be at least 18 years old to vote. One must follow specific criteria and required documents to enroll in any of the three levels of government.
V. Polling Day
Polling day in Australia is always held on a Saturday. The assigned polling places are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., located in different places near the voter's residence, such as local schools, public buildings, or church halls.
VI. Voting Information
Before heading out to the polling booth, one must learn more about the voting process; where, when, and how to vote. For state and local government elections, voters can choose to vote in person at a voting center or attend an early voting center or pre-poll venue. Other options include voting online, telephone voting service, ballot by post, and on-site voting at a declared institution or facility.
For federal government elections, someone who can't physically attend the voting center, may be eligible to vote in several ways, including in person at an early voting center, interstate voting center or overseas voting center, via a telephone voting service, by post at a mobile polling place, or in some nursing homes, convalescent homes, hospitals, and aged care institutions.
VII. Special Needs or Circumstances
Suppose anyone has special needs or specific circumstances that may affect their enrolment or voting process. In that case, they may find information on the AEC website or contact their local government office for additional guidance.
Knowing the election process is important for all levels of government. Therefore, it is essential always to stay informed about election dates, enrollment requirements, and proper voting procedures to fulfill our duty as responsible citizens of a representative democracy.
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