The Australian Federal Election is just around the corner on Saturday 21st May, 2022. As an older Australian, it is important to exercise your right and participate in voting. We have compiled a guide to assist you in making your voting experience as accessible and flexible as possible.
It is compulsory for all elibible Australians over the age of 18 to enrol and vote in federal elections. The Australian Electoral Commission provides assistance and various options so anyone can participate.
Registering As A Postal Voter
Registering as a postal voter is a common option for many older Australians as it can remove the difficulty of travelling to a polling booth.
You can apply to be a general postal voter through the Australian Electoral Commission. You will be given a link to download a PDF form which you will need to fill in, scan and upload to the AEC.
If you don't have access to a computer you can collect a form from your local AEC office or post office. You can then complete this form and return by fax, mail or in person to your local AEC office. Find your local AEC office here.
Eligible reasons for being a postal voter include:
- Lives at an address that is 20 kilometres away from a polling booth
- A patient in a hospital or nursing home and cannot travel to a polling booth
- Unable to get to a polling booth due to being sick, or ill due to ageing, at home
- You are caring for someone who is seriously ill or an infirm person
- Are serving a prison sentence less than 3 years
- You are registered as a silent elector
- Cannot attend a polling booth due to your religious beliefs
- Do not have the physical capacity to sign your name
- You are registered as an overseas elector
- You are a member of the defence force or a defence civilian, or an Australian Federal Police officer or staff member, who is serving overseas
Voting & Living With Dementia
If you need assistance when casting your vote due to living with dementia, you can take a family member, friend or care worker to assist you or you can ask an election official. The AEC also provides a rage of "Easy read guides" for people who might have difficulty reading and understanding written information.
If your doctor has deemed that you can not understand the importance of enrolling to vote and voting, you need to fill out an 'Objection claim that an elector should not be enrolled' form that will remove your' name from the electoral roll. The medical certificate section of this form needs to be filled out and signed by a medical practitioner.
If you are unable to attend a polling booth to cast your vote due to illness, or a hospital stay, you may be able to vote early in the lead up to the election through mobile polling booths. Click here to learn more.
For people who live with blindness or low vision, you are able to use the AEC's telephone voting system to cast your vote. Click here to learn more.
If you are unable to get to a polling booth on the day of the election you may be able to vote early at an early voting booth.
To find a location, date and time, please click here.
Voting On Election Day
Accessibility systems are in place to ensure everyone can acess their right to vote at a polling booth.
Most polling booths will provide accessible aids such as pencil grips, magnifying sheets and chairs for people who are unable to stand for long periods of time. You may speak with election staff on the day and they can prioritise a place in the queue for you and in some instances may be able to bring the ballot paper to the car for you. You can also nominate a trusted person to fill out the ballot form on your behalf.
Stay COVID-Safe While Voting
Don't forget, COVID-19 is still circulating in our community. It is still important to practice COVID safe measures when out and about including:
- Social distancing
- Hand sanitising
- Queue management
- Frequent and thorough cleaning of high-touch surfaces by dedicated hygiene officers
- Single-use pencils, if you forget to bring your own
- COVID check-ins (which may differ depending on the State/Territory you live in)
- Election staff will be double vaccinated
Don't forget, a Careseekers care and support worker can assist you in accessing a polling booth. Click here to start searching for a great worker.
To become a care or support worker, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/carer
To find disability support services, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/services/disability-support-workers
To find aged care services, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/services/aged-care-workers
To make a referral, please visit https://www.careseekers.com.au/referrals