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Make Your Political Vote Count!

Updated: May 11, 2022

Do you get how important this Federal Election is?

Do you know how valuable every vote is?


Now, more than ever before, it is SO IMPORTANT to make your vote count and get involved in this ELECTION!


I never understood why Aussies were so stand-off-ish about their politics.


As a refugee kid form a Communist country - we lived on food rations, intermittent access to water and electricity, and under persecution. We had no rights or freedoms.


So, I am so grateful to be living in a Constitutional Democracy, and I am so proud to be an Aussie ...


But ... if you read your history, you will know and understand that our freedoms and rights are fragile, and susceptible to being challenged if we do not covetously protect them.


So, if you want your freedoms and rights protected - and given back - you've got to fight - AT THE POLLING BOOTHS!!


A FEW TIPS:


1. Figure out who your local candidates are. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has a search engine to find your local candidates for you here.


2. Figure out how you vote, where you can vote, and where you can help out!



This will also help you identify the closest POLLING BOOTH OR PRE-POLL BOOTHS you can help out at! Information for postal voting and overseas voters here.


You are eligible to apply for a postal vote if you are unable to get to a polling place on election day. We encourage you to apply as soon as you know you are eligible.


The AEC cannot send your voting pack until the ballot papers have been printed. The earliest the AEC can send out your pack is 26 April 2022. If you do not apply as soon as possible, you may have to choose an alternative way to vote.


If you are a registered general postal voter and your postal address has changed or you have been affected by events such as natural disasters, you can update your postal address online.


I do recommend you vote in person though - in pen! This will ensure an added layer of transparency.



Pre-polling starts on the 9th of May 2022, and runs for two weeks , open from 9am to 5pm roughly every week day. Some locations are also open on Saturdays.



The House of Representatives Australia is divided into areas called electoral divisions. Voters in each electoral division cast a vote to elect one person (a Member of Parliament) to represent them in the House of Representatives.


The Senate Voters in each state and territory elect Senators to represent them in the Senate. States have 12 Senators and the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory each have 2 Senators.


Referendum At a referendum, you will receive a ballot paper with the proposed alteration to the Constitution.





3. MAKE SURE YOU VOTE BELOW THE LINE!

Preference freedom parties! Put the majors last!

Remember - preferences are in YOUR HANDS!


YOU have the preference power!

Despite what any party tells you, preference how you choose!


It will be a good outcome if we end up with a hung parliament and they hold the balance of power!



The pre-poll voting booths are open and locations can be found on the AEC website via a search engine here.


The website Put Majors Last have some fantastic resources, including House of Representatives How to Vote Cards here, and a Candidate search here.



4. Become an AEC staff member! The AEC is looking for at least 100,000 temporary employees this Federal election! This is a great opportunity to be a part of the transparency of our Democratic voting system!

Most jobs are working in polling places on election day, but there are also jobs before election day, such as working in early voting centres, outposted centres and mobile polling. People are also needed after election day to help count votes, manage election materials and complete a range of administration tasks.


COVID-19 safety measures will be in place at polling places and other workplaces to protect AEC workers and voters. All temporary election workers will need to wear a face mask and be fully vaccinated. Medical exemptions may be allowed for some roles. More Info here.


5. Volunteer at your local polling booth!


6. SCRUITINEER!

Volunteer to scrutineers at your local polling booth from 5:45pm on Election night!


You are doing an extremely important job in ensuring that Australia’s proud democratic tradition of transparent elections is maintained. Transparency and integrity in the conduct of elections have, after all, been the hallmarks of Australia’s federal electoral system.


As a scrutineer, you need a clear understanding of your role, including what you can and cannot do under the law. This handbook is designed to help you, before, during and after election day, to be as effective as possible as a scrutineer. Remember, you can play a signifcant part in helping to ensure, as far as possible, that every vote cast in an election counts.


Fill out the Scrutineers Form attached below.

Submit it through your local chosen party who will submit it to the AEC staff on Election Day.


scrutineers-appointment-form
.pdf
Download PDF • 571KB

Get across the Scrutineers Handbook and understand your role.


scrutineers-handbook
.pdf
Download PDF • 3.00MB

A candidate appoints you by completing a scrutineer appointment form, which can be obtained from any Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) office or the AEC website. The candidate must sign the form and give the name and address of the scrutineer.

You must then sign the undertaking on the form stating you will not attempt to influence the vote of an elector and that you will not disclose any knowledge you may acquire concerning any elector’s vote.

The form may be provided in person to the relevant DRO or officer in charge of a polling place, or by fax if such facilities are available.

For a referendum, scrutineers can be appointed by the Governor-General, the Governor of a State, the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, the Administrator of the Northern Territory, and registered officers of a registered political party.


As a scrutineer, you have the right to be present when the ballot boxes are sealed, when they are opened, when votes are being issued, and when the votes are sorted and counted so you may confirm the integrity of election processes on behalf of the candidate who has appointed you. On behalf of candidates, scrutineers may observe:

  • the polling,

  • the early sorting of ordinary pre-poll ballot papers,

  • the counting of ballot papers (the scrutiny),

  • the preliminary scrutiny of declaration envelopes,

  • the further scrutiny of declaration votes,

  • the fresh scrutiny of House of Representatives votes,

  • the Divisional Returning Officer Senate count, and

  • the Australian Electoral Officer scrutiny of Senate ballot papers.


7. How your Votes are Counted!

Did you know that votes are counted manually by AEC staff, and there may be human error involved? This is why scrutineers are ESSENTIAL to a fair, democratic election!


Australia’s much-admired, manual system of federal elections has one of the most complex and time-consuming counting operations in the world.


Within AEC walls, election night is considered the halfway mark of a federal election, and for good reason. While election night will see approximately 20-25 million ballot papers counted, this is an indicative count, and what follows is:

  • Secure packaging, transport and enrolment verification of millions of ballot papers cast away from home

  • Delivery, receipt and enrolment verification of 1m+ postal votes

  • A mandatory secondary count and full distribution of preferences for all House of Representatives ballot papers

  • Scanning, data entry and human verification of millions of Senate preferences


It’s not just a matter of more AEC staff resulting in a quicker count. It is often the case that at the end of each day all votes in the AEC’s possession have been counted - transport takes time and we are guided by the principle of “right, not rushed”.


Protecting the integrity of Australia’s electoral processes is critical to maintaining public trust in Australia's democratic processes.


In the context of the Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce (the Taskforce), references to electoral integrity relate to the assistance provided by Taskforce agencies that help give assurance to the Australian Electoral Commissioner that the electoral event is unaffected by interference. For the purposes of the Taskforce, interference is characterised as an action intended to affect or disrupt electoral processes. The Taskforce is not involved in the delivery of the election and does not have any role in other elements of electoral integrity such as electoral processes, policies, procedures or administrative or regulatory decisions.


Potential threats to electoral integrity can come in the form of cyber or physical security incidents, misinformation or disinformation campaigns, and through perceived or actual interference in electoral processes.


Public trust in the integrity of elections can be undermined by the realisation or perceived realisation of such threats. The Taskforce ensures that information about these threats is efficiently referred to the relevant agencies and facilitates cooperation and coordination between these agencies enabling them to work together to take any appropriate action.


House of Representatives Votes Counted: There are 151 House of Representatives seats and a significant proportion of ballot papers for each seat are counted on election night.


Senate Votes Counted: The Australian Senate count is among the world’s most complex upper house counts. There are a number of security measures and checks in place at every step of the process. Every Senate ballot paper, and every preference marked by a voter, is manually keyed in and checked by a human operator - with party-appointed scrutineers able to observe this process.


Once the millions of preferences marked on Senate ballot papers are manually entered and verified by AEC staff, the task of distributing those preferences is necessarily performed by AEC created and owned, and independently certified, software. This method of distributing Senate preferences allows Senators to be elected in time to take their seats in Parliament and has been successfully applied for previous federal elections.


Each election, detailed reports of the Senate distribution of preferences are made publicly available for further manual scrutiny, both internal and external, confirming the accuracy of the process undertaken.


8. If you are a Minor Party Candidate, I can provide you with training!

Wednesday night, from 6:30pm I will be on ZOOM sharing my 15-years experience in political lobbying, campaigning of tips and tricks from Canberra, and how to maximise your time in these last few weeks before the election!


This training will provide you with a strategic edge!


Election campaigning is tough!

We all need help, to work together, and to stay strong - stick to our values and fight for truth, justice, freedom and what is right!


Without these qualities in Australian citizens, in families and in the Halls of Parliament, our Nation will be poorer for it!





I look forward to seeing you there!



Andrea.

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