AEC reminds overseas voters about referendum

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is reminding people who will be overseas during the upcoming referendum to plan their vote now.​

A list of 107 overseas voting centres for the 2023 referendum was recently published on the AEC website, with postal voting or voting at an early voting centre before departure also options that are available.​

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said the service provision for people overseas is the most that has ever been provided for a federal election or referendum in Australia’s history.​

“Voting in-person overseas is a great touchstone for Australians living and travelling overseas and I’m pleased and very proud to see our service provision is larger than ever,” Mr Rogers said.

“This would not have been possible without the strong ongoing co-operation between the AEC and its partners – the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade.”​

While any polling service is always subject to change, the list published shows 107 in-person voting locations available across 80 countries – a significant increase from the 2022 Federal Election conducted during COVID-19 restrictions.​

“Overseas voting centres will be available during the early voting period, which commences on Monday, October 2 and will run within the two-week period leading up to referendum day,” Mr Rogers said.​

“Please keep in mind that the opening dates and times will vary and this voting information is being published by each overseas centre progressively as arrangements are finalised.”

If an Australian overseas is unable to vote at one of the in-person voting locations, they can apply for a postal vote.​

Postal votes overseas will have fast-tracked arrangements in place where possible, using point-to-point couriers for dispatch and diplomatic mail for return.

This was done for the first time during the 2022 Federal Election and will continue for the referendum regardless of the increase to in-person voting centres. ​

“We don’t control or operate overseas postal services – we do everything in our power to facilitate a voting service for people around the world but are conscious that for some people this just won’t be possible,” Mr Rogers said.​

“If you’re close to an in-person overseas voting centre then my advice would be to cast your vote in-person. If you’re applying for a postal vote, do it as soon as you possibly can to provide the best chance for your ballot paper to get to you overseas in time for voting day.”​

Voting in a referendum is not compulsory for Australians overseas.