Early voting in Australia 2022 election proving to be popular

14 May 2022

Australians go the polls to elect a new federal government on Saturday 21 May 2022. Or is that yesterday, today, and tomorrow? Early voting is proving riotously popular again this year, with the Australian Electoral Commission saying almost 1.3 million Australians have already cast their vote.

At the last federal election, about six and a half million people either voted early, or by post. From a pool of just over sixteen million registered voters, that a solid forty percent of the population.

Despite the uptake in pre-poll voting, showing up at the polling booth on election day is meant to be the norm, says Tom Rogers, the Australian Electoral Commissioner:

Early voting options are designed for people who can’t make it their local polling booth. The idea of a dedicated election day is for voters to come together to decide who will run the country for the next three years. “It really is supposed to be an in-person community event where people vote on the day,” Mr Rogers says.

It’s a curious way of looking at the process of electing a government, like it’s the village fete day. We live in a country where voting is mandatory — and everyone, in my opinion, should vote — but expecting sixteen or so million people to converge on polling booths on a single day strikes me as thinking that belongs to another age.

Perhaps one where most people worked during the week, and restricted their weekends to non-work activities. If such a world actually existed.

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