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How we do things here
May 11, 2019
I keep seeing horror stories about how elections are run in other countries, so here's some information about how the 2019 federal election will happen in Australia.
The election will be administered by the Australian Electoral Commission. Every address in Australia received a pamphlet setting out all the procedures and rules for voting, and it is the same at every polling place in the country. You can see the guide by clicking on the picture at the right.
The polls open at 8am and close at 6pm. Anyone in the line at that time will be allowed to vote, no matter how much time it takes or how many are in the queue. (Officials can't start opening the ballot boxes and counting until the last voter has gone.)
Provided that no suggestions are made about who to vote for, any voter can ask for and receive assistance to vote. If they need to get someone to fill in the ballot papers there must be a witness (who can't be a candidate).
When deciding if a vote is formal or not, the voter's intention has to be considered and benefit of the doubt given. You have to number the candidates in your preferred order, but you can write (and even mix) words like "one", "two" or even Roman numerals. The whole process is based on making the election the result of including as many people's votes as possible.
No hanging chads, and sausage sandwiches for all.
I should also point out that elections are held on Saturdays when most of the working population have a day off, if you can't get to a polling place on the day you can vote early or by post, if you are away from home on the day but still in your home state you can vote at any polling place and if you are interstate there are very many interstate voting places. If you are in hospital or have certain other problems a mobile voting service can come to you, and if you are homeless or itinerant with no fixed address and let the AEC know in advance you can still vote.
Everybody matters or nobody matters.
Also, despite the brochure saying that voting is compulsory, what is compulsory is to attend a polling place and have your name marked off. Except in the case mentioned above where a voter can ask for assistance, no official can see what if anything is on a voting paper before it is placed in the ballot box.
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