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2022 Federal election: voting FAQs for Older Australians and People with Disability

Can I nominate someone to assist me with voting? What if I can’t get to the polling avenue? In the lead-up to the 2022 Federal election, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about voting.

By law, every Australian citizen over the age of 18 registered on the electoral roll is required to vote in government elections, irrespective of physical capacity. With the election coming up on 21st May 2022, it’s important to know how you can cast your vote. 

For detailed information, please visit the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website.

Q: If I haven’t enrolled to vote, can I still enrol now?

A: The Federal electoral roll closed on Monday, 18th April, 2022 so it is too late to enrol for the coming Federal election. If you have not previously enrolled, you will not be fined for not voting but you should enrol to vote in future elections.

Q: Is voting compulsory for older Australians and for people who live with disability?

A: For those enrolled to vote, voting is compulsory for Australian citizens aged 18 years and over, regardless of physical capacity. Exceptions include dementia (depending on the person’s current cognitive condition) and intellectual disabilities.

Q: If I need physical assistance, who can I nominate?

A: You can nominate anyone (except a candidate) to assist you. It could be a friend, family member, a scrutineer or a party worker. If you don’t nominate anyone, polling officials in charge will assist you.

If you have nominated a person to assist you, both of you enter an unoccupied polling booth during voting. The assistant helps to complete, fold and deposit the ballot paper in the ballot box. In this situation, scrutineers are not allowed to enter the polling booth while the ballot paper is being completed.

If you need assistance but are going to vote alone the polling place officials will be able to assist you as you require.

If you are unable to get out of your car due to a physical disability, and the polling official in charge is satisfied that you cannot enter the polling place, someone can bring the ballot papers to you.

Q: Can a person with dementia vote in an election?

A: According to the AEC, people who are in the early stages of dementia can continue to enrol and vote, as long as they are still capable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting.

Q: Can a loved one or caretaker vote on behalf of the person who lives with dementia?

A: No. If the person with dementia is enrolled to vote and is no longer capable of understanding the nature and significance of voting, the family member or carer must fill out an ‘Objection claim that an elector should not be enrolled’ form and return it to the AEC. It must be signed by a registered medical practitioner. Check out this page on the AEC website to know how to return your form.

Q: What if my physical disability prevents me from writing?

A: In this case, you can nominate another person to assist you in casting your vote. All polling place officials receive training to be able to assist seniors, people with disability or anyone needing support to cast their vote in a secure way.

Q: Can I vote if I’m in a hospital or an aged care facility?

A: AEC mobile voting teams with specially appointed scrutineers do attend residential care facilities. A scrutineer is permitted to assist a person to vote if it has been deemed that that person does require assistance and that they want the scrutineer, and not someone else of their choosing, to assist.

If mobile voting is not available where you are, there are other ways you can cast your vote. Continue reading to find out how.

Q: If I can’t get to a polling venue on election day, can I vote ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can do this with the help of advance voting through a postal vote, early voting centre or telephone voting.

Postal vote

If you can’t get to a polling place on election day, you can apply for a postal vote pack and ballot papers and instructions will be sent to your address. Alternatively, you can call 13 23 26 to request a pack. Applications for the 2022 Federal election close on 18th May.

Your ballot papers must be completed and witnessed on or before election day. This video can help you to better understand postal votes.

Early voting centre

For those who need to vote before election day, find an early voting centre in your local area.

Telephone voting

For voters who are COVID-affected or blind or vision-impaired, the AEC’s telephone voting service is available.

Q: Where can I find more information about accessible voting?

A: The AEC website provides comprehensive information about accessible voting. You can request large print information or a braille guide to be sent to you, or you can access audio content on the website. A list of accessible polling venues will become available on the AEC website closer to the election. Otherwise, you can call your local Federal MP’s office for more information.

At some polling venues, a polling official may bring the ballot papers to you in the car if you are unable to get out of the car.

Remember the AEC Polling Place employees are all there to make sure everyone can cast their vote as a part of our important democratic process so always feel comfortable to ask them for help or to explain anything you are not sure about.

Got more questions? Visit the AEC website if you have any more questions about how you can vote on polling day.

Book a support session to help you with voting

However you’d like to cast your vote, you can connect with an independent support worker on the Mable platform to help. You may even be able to book your usual support worker. They can drive you to a polling venue or early voting centre and you may even like to make a social outing of it.

Voting is important. Aside from being compulsory, it’s also a right and a privilege and you deserve for your vote to be counted. 

If you want to know more about what Australia’s major political parties have announced in the lead up to the Federal elections, check out the easy-to-compare guide we have created here.

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