As a uni student here at Charles Sturt Bathurst, there’s a high chance you’re living at a home away from home. If you’re living in town, you’re well covered as that will be your new residential address and you’ll be voting for candidates here in the electorate of Calare.
If you’re like me and living on campus, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish as they say! Not sure why fish are living in kettles, but you get the point.
As the first federal election since 2019, there’s a good chance most of us uni students are voting for the first time in the upcoming federal election set to take place on Saturday the 21st of May. So here is Interp’s guide for how to vote at uni!
STEP ONE: WHAT ADDRESS ARE YOU USING TO VOTE?
First things first it is important to find out what address you have enrolled to vote with. To check this, you can log onto your Australian Electoral Commission account. Once you know which address you’re using its time to work out the electorate you’re voting in.
STEP TWO: WHAT ELECTORATE ARE YOU ENROLLED TO VOTE IN?
Now you are not necessarily voting for the electorate in which you are physically present. Take me for example, whilst I’m living on Campus at Charles Sturt Bathurst which resides in the electorate of Calare. I live in Copacabana on the Central Coast, so will be voting for my local electorate of Robertson.
You can find which electorate you’re enrolled to vote in based on your residential address by typing in your suburb here: https://electorate.aec.gov.au/
STEP THREE: WORK OUT IF YOU’RE AVAILABLE TO VOTE ON THE DAY
The 2022 federal Election has been called for Saturday 21st of May 2022. Ultimately, It is compulsory to vote at Federal if you are an Australian citizen aged 18 years or more. On May 21st, voting will open at 8am and close at 6pm. It is compulsory to have voted before voting closes at 6pm on May 21st.
STEP FOUR: IF YOU CAN’T VOTE ON THE DAY
We get it, you’re busy. You’re overseas. You’re hyper-organised. You’re stressed you won’t remember to vote. If any of these reasons ring a bell or you want to place your vote before the date of the election you can apply for a postal vote or vote at an early voting centre.
OPTION 1: EARLY VOTING CENTRE If you can’t get to a polling place on election day you can vote at an early voting centre in Australia. Early voting will commence on Monday the 9th May 2022. WAITING ON LIST OF PLACES FOR BATHURST – ANNOUNCED FRIDAY 22ND APRIL
OPTION 2: POSTAL VOTE (MAIN OPTION) You are eligible to apply for a postal vote if you are unable to get to a polling place on election day. It is encouraged to apply for a postal vote as soon as you know you are eligible.
POSTAL VOTE APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN NOW AND WILL CLOSE ON WEDNESDAY THE 18TH OF MAY 2022 (3 DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION).
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.
Postal voting ballot papers must be completed and witnessed on or before election day. Once you have completed your postal vote, return it inside the white return envelope provided. The address to use to return your postal vote will be printed on the materials you received.
You have only 13 days after the election for your ballot papers to be received by the AEC.
STEP FIVE: YOU ARE AVAILABLE TO VOTE ON THE DAY
On May 21st, voting will open at 8am and close at 6pm. It is compulsory to have voted before voting closes at 6pm on May 21st.
To vote you go to a polling place.
Here is a list of all polling places in the Bathurst area:
Eglington Public School, 29 Alexander St, Eglington
Bathurst West Public School, 35 Suttor St, West Bathurst
Bathurst High, 190 Hope St, Bathurst
St Stephens Presbyterian Church Hall, 236 Howick St, Bathurst
Bathurst Public School, 279-281 George St, Bathurst
Catholic Cathedral Bathurst Centre, 118 Keppel St, Bathurst
Bathurst South Public School, 169 Havanah St, Bathurst
Kelso Public School, 19 Gilmour St, Kelso
You can vote at any polling place in the state of territory that you live. For example, because the Central Coast is still in NSW, polling places in Bathurst will still have the resources to allow me to vote there in person.
However, if your residential address is in Canberra, as this is in the ACT you will either have to perform a postal vote, head back to a polling place in the ACT (the same state where you ‘live’) or you can vote at an interstate voting centre. WAITING ON LIST OF PLACES FOR BATHURST – ANNOUNCED FRIDAY 22ND APRIL
When you enter the polling place you will go straight to the table and talk to an election official. From there, they will ask you 3 questions; 1. What is your full name? 2. Where do you live? 3. Have you voted before in this election?
The election official will then mark your name off the electoral roll.
STEP SIX: THE ACTUAL VOTING
Once you have chosen your preferred method of voting to make sure it is completed by 6pm on Saturday the 21st May, the voting process is the same no matter the format.
You will then receive two ballot papers: a white one (for the house of representatives) and a green one(for the senate).
For information on what the specific coloured ballots mean and how to fill them in head to: https://www.aec.gov.au/about_aec/Publications/easy-read/files/vote-polling-place-easy-eng.pdf
When you have filled out your ballot papers, you need to put them in a ballot box, there will be 2 boxes: one for the green ballot and one for the white ballot.
Voila! You’ve just voted in the Federal Election and avoided a hefty fine in the mail! If you’re still confused and overwhelmed, don’t worry we completely feel you! You can head to https://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/How_to_vote/practice/ to have a practice vote that won’t count but will show you the process.