If you’re heading on a cruise or flying abroad in the coming week and have run out of time to squeeze in an early vote for the May 18 federal election, all is not lost. In fact, there are several options available to cast your vote early.
Firstly, you can let the government know you’ll be out of the country and unable to vote by completing this form.
Alternatively, you can visit one of the polling stations that are set up around the world in the week leading up to and on election day itself. The Australian Electoral Commission has a handy list of the stations here.
It’s important to remember that if you are on a cruise, the boat itself can’t supply a polling booth but if you check your itinerary, you’ll be able to tell which overseas voting station you’ll be able to attend. Your cruise provider should be able to let you know your arrival and departure times at various ports, so you can match them against the times the local station is open.
In Australia it’s compulsory to vote, however if you were to risk not voting then you’d need to explain your reasons to the AEC after your return. Whether you’re considered to have a ‘valid and sufficient reason’ is up to the divisional returning officer who considers your case. You can read more about what are deemed to be valid and sufficient on the AEC’s site.
If your reasons aren’t considered good enough, however, you will face a $20 fine.