The federal election has been called for Saturday May 21. If you can’t attend a polling place on election day, you need to organise an alternative way to get involved in federal election early voting.

Early Voting in Australian Federal Election

If you have turned 18 since the last federal election (or are 17 but will turn 18 before May 21) or have changed address since 2019, then you have until Monday April 18 to enrol or update your details.

Next, if you hold any doubts you won’t be able to make it to the polls on May 21 — say you’re due to give birth around then, or you have a party the night before and you’re worried you could sleep in too late, just you should consider applying for federal election early voting or getting it out of the way early.

Where to vote before election day

Postal voting

If you won’t be able to vote in person on election day between 8am and 6pm local time , you can apply online for a postal vote to have your ballot papers sent to you in the mail.

You will fill them out as usual, seal up your ballot in the postage-paid return envelope provided and will be required to post it back to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on or before election day.

Although you’re required to get your name checked off to avoid a fine, voting is always anonymous. Don’t worry, the ballot papers you post back won’t have any of your details on them.

People are eligible for postal voting if they live more than 20km from a polling place, are ill or immunocompromised, are in COVID-19 isolation, are in hospital or a physically unable to attend or sign your name.

Applications for postal voting are now open and the deadline is Wednesday May 18. The AEC will begin sending out papers from April 26 onwards.

You can apply here so get onto it now!

Early voting centres

If you’re going to be busy with work or travelling away from home on election day but are still able to vote in person you can visit an early voting centre.

There, you’ll be able to cast your vote as you would have done otherwise without having to worry about remembering to take your ballot papers to the post office.

Early voting starts 12 days before election day on Monday May 9.

Early voting centres are in capital cities and regional centres around the country.

You can find the one that best suits you via the AEC’s website here. Just enter your postcode and voila!

Interstate and mobile voting

Going to be interstate on election day? No dramas.

Stacks of interstate voting centres will be open in major cities and towns just like the early voting centres.

The list of interstate voting centres can be found here by plugging in your postcode!

Mobile voting centres (mobile as in portable, not via your phone) will also be set up in remote parts of the country as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons.

A list of locations the AEC will be visiting can be sussed here. Just scroll down and check out the list in your chosen state!

Telephone voting

Telephone voting is available only to people who are blind or have low vision. Assistance is also available to people with other disabilities or mobility restrictions and all the information is here.

Overseas voting

If you’ll be overseas on May 21 you can either vote at an overseas voting centre or by post depending on your circumstances.

If you’re a citizen living abroad but intend to return to our shores within the next six years, you can register as an overseas elector.

If you’re overseas for a short time but still have a residential address in Australia and are already enrolled to vote, you need to complete and submit an overseas notification form to cast an absentee vote.

The good news is that Australian embassies and consulates worldwide offer in-person voting for those on the electoral roll. Aussies abroad will be able to drop in to their local diplomatic outpost to have their say. Everything you need to know is here.

More information on the ways you can cast your vote is here, but first, don’t forget to enrol or update your enrolment!

Image: Bianca De Marchu / AAP Image