With the 2023 referendum announced for Saturday 14 October it’s now time for Australians to make sure they are enrolled and ready to vote.
Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said that all Australian citizens aged 18 years and over are required by law to enrol and vote in the first referendum in nearly a quarter of a century.
“As a writ has not been issued as yet, a deadline has not been set for the close of rolls at this stage,” Mr Rogers said.
“However, the instruction is simple - if Australians are unsure of the status of their enrolment, they should jump on the AEC website now and make sure their details are up to date.”
“This referendum will have the best base for democratic participation of any federal electoral event in Australia’s history. Despite enrolment rates skyrocketing and a record 97.5% of voters currently on the roll, the work is never finished. We want all eligible Australians enrolled.”
“Any federal Referendum is a significant moment for the country, and for voters, with only 44 conducted in our nation’s history. If you are not enrolled you will not be able to participate.”
“It’s also important to understand the role of a referendum – it’s been 24 years since the most recent one so many people will be new to the process or need to refamiliarise themselves.”
“We have a dedicated referendum website at aec.gov.au/referendums – head there now.”
While completing a ballot paper for a referendum is different to a federal election, the voting services will be quite similar. The 17.5 million voters will be able to cast their vote in person on the day or via early voting centres in the two weeks leading up to polling day or via a postal vote.
Australians voting overseas will see the in-person voting services returning to pre-pandemic levels – with around 100 in-person overseas voting centres available. Additionally, there will be fast-tracked arrangements in place for overseas postal voting, as provided during last year’s federal election.
Remote communities will have more voting services delivered to them than any other vote in Australia’s history. The AEC remote voter service team will visit approximately 35% more remote communities and spend 80% more time in them.
Aged care facilities will also see an increase provision of mobile polling services, something that wasn’t possible on a large scale during the last federal election due to covid restrictions. Additionally, residential mental health facilities will have this service offered to them for the first time.
Telephone voting will be available for voters who are blind or have low vision, as well as for those stationed in Antarctica.
“We have gone to great lengths to cater for the different needs of Australian voters, so anyone who seeks to vote in this referendum has a service available.” Mr Rogers said.
“We are all about the process of delivering this referendum. It is up to Australians how they vote, our work is about making sure they have access to vote.”
Detailed information about all voting services – locations and opening hours - will be provided on the AEC website closer to the voting period.
For information about referendums, the Constitution, media resources and more, check the referendum reporting guide here.