A man is seen casting his vote at an Australian Electoral Commission early voting centre in Melbourne on Monday, May 9, 2022, while his dog looks on
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Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese still have 12 days to make their case but thousands of Australians have already voted and HALF will have cast their ballot by polling day – here’s how you can beat election queues today

  • Coalition voters are more likely to vote early than their Labor counterparts 
  • Political parties study the patterns of early and postal voting very closely  
  • 42 per cent of votes cast by pre-polling and postal voting in 2019 election

Thousands of Australians have already cast their votes for the federal election 12 days from polling day on May 21.

Early voting opened on Monday and by the time the campaign is over about half of the country is expected to have cast their ballots.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Labor challenger Anthony Albanese still have almost two weeks of policy announcements and gaffes to come, but for these voters little of it will matter.

Candidates all study the patterns of early and postal voting very closely and sometimes time policy launches to coincide with what they expect will be a busy pre-polling period. 

A man is seen casting his vote at an Australian Electoral Commission early voting centre in Melbourne on Monday, May 9, 2022, while his dog looks on

A man is seen casting his vote at an Australian Electoral Commission early voting centre in Melbourne on Monday, May 9, 2022, while his dog looks on

Ben Raue, election analyst at The Tally Room, said Coalition voters were more likely to vote early than their Labor counterparts.

‘In the past two elections, there has been a three to five per cent higher vote for Labor on the official election day than in pre-polling,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘Despite losing the elections in 2016 and 2019, Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote among those voting on election day at both of those elections.’  

About 42 per cent of votes were cast by pre-polling and postal voting in the 2019 election and the number is expected to rise again this time. 

‘It may go over 50 per cent,’ Mr Raue said. 

‘There will be a big increase in postal voting because of Covid. There has already been a big increase in the number of people requesting postal votes.’

In some of the state and council elections held during the pandemic, on-the-day voting was as low as 20 per cent, with the rest having pre-polled or voted by post. 

But with 93.9 per cent of people now vaccinated, that will not be replicated in the federal election – though its popularity is increasing.

‘As the early vote has increased, this outcome has become more critical to deciding elections,’ Mr Raue said.

‘It would have been very hard to win an election despite losing the election day vote back in 2001, when almost 90 per cent of all votes were cast on the day.’

Staff members are seen at the early voting centre inside the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday, May 9, 2022

Staff members are seen at the early voting centre inside the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday, May 9, 2022

Ballot boxes are seen at an early voting centre in Melbourne on Monday, May 9, 2022

Ballot boxes are seen at an early voting centre in Melbourne on Monday, May 9, 2022

With pre-polling now a major part of the federal election, many people worry that something will happen between the day they voted and election day that may have changed their choice.

Mr Raue doesn’t agree with that: ‘The act of voting, regardless of when you do it, is final. 

‘A party could release a policy after you’ve voted that might change your mind and wish you’d voted a different way, but equally they could do something a week after the election that makes you regret how you voted.

‘The biggest pre-polling days are always the Thursday and Friday before the actual poll, so there is not a lot of time left for regret for most people anyway,’ he said. 

What you need to know about voting early

Can I cast an early vote? Yes. Pre-polling opened on Monday, May 9.

Where can I vote early? Several pre-polling booths have opened around the country. Click here to find out where you can vote.

How do I vote if I’m interstate? If you are out of your home state on election day, you can cast your vote at an intestate voting centre in the area you are visiting. 

How do I vote if I’m overseas? The Australian Electoral Commission strongly recommends registering for a postal vote if you are outside of Australia.

Due to Covid-19, postal delays are expected so it is best to apply for it as soon as possible.

If you prefer to cast a vote in person, you can do so in some Australian embassies and consulates.

How do I register for a postal vote? Anyone unable to get to a polling centre on election day can apply for a postal vote — whether interstate or overseas. 

You can ask the AEC for a postal vote anytime before May 18. 

Can I vote online? No. However, telephone voting is available if you fall under any one of these categories:

  • If you are blind or have low vision
  • If you work in, or are in transit to or from Antarctica
  • If you have been affected by Covid (only for the final three voting days)

Source: Australian Electoral Commission 

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