Young voters make up a potentially decisive voter bloc in this Saturday’s Victorian election – but despite a boom in enrolments during the marriage equality survey, thousands of millennials are still missing from the electoral rolls.
Despite a growth in the number of registrations, the Australian Electoral Commission estimates more than 600,000 eligible Australians are not enrolled to vote.
Victoria has the highest number of ‘missing’ voters, with a projected 171,273 eligible voters not listed on the electoral roll.
The Victorian Electoral Commission is emphasising the importance of every vote and the difference even a handful of votes can make.
Marie Guerin, spokeswoman for the VEC, said: “It is the right and the responsibility of everyone on the electoral roll to vote.
“This ensures that our elected representatives are genuinely those preferred by the majority of the electorate. State governments make decisions that affect all Victorians, and it’s important that they represent the preferences of the community.”
The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green has also urged Victorians to vote “below the line” – that is, nominate their preferences rather than simply following the party how-to-vote advice.
How to vote for the Victorian Legislative Council, control your own preferences and unpick the cosy deals of the preference harvesters https://t.co/AgBH5kn6u9 #vicvotes #springst #votebelowtheline
— Antony Green (@AntonyGreenABC) November 16, 2018
So why do we have to vote?
Compulsory enrolment for federal elections was introduced in Australia in 1912, though voting was not made obligatory until 1924. By 1935 Victoria had enforced mandatory state voting for both levels of Parliament.
Who are we voting for?
Victorians will vote to have their say on which politicians will fill available positions in the Legislative Assembly (House of Representatives) and the Legislative Council, often referred to as the upper house.
How to vote/voting options
Follow the rules set out by the VEC – or your vote won’t count. A ballot paper can be deemed informal if it is not completed, or is filled in incorrectly. If the voter includes information which reveals their identity, if a number is repeated, or if ticks/crosses are used in their place, the ballots are not counted.
If you are unable to vote on election day you can vote early (use this map to locate the nearest early voting centre.) Early voting ends at 6pm on Friday November 23. As of 6pm on November 21, a record 970,504 people had voted early, with a further 177,572 voting by post.
Voting in person can be done at any voting centre across the state. The VEC advises allowing extra time if you are attending a voting centre outside your electorate.
While the deadline to be included on the state electoral roll has closed, you can enrol and vote on the spot provided you bring your driver’s licence or learner’s permit, your Australian passport, or a council rates notice or electricity bill in your name. You can check your enrolment status here.
If having your address on the electoral roll could jeopardise the safety of you or your family, you can apply to register as a silent elector. This ensures only your name is publicly available on the electoral roll.
Both the AEC and the VEC have the power to obtain information from agencies such as VicRoads, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessments Authority and the Australian Electoral Commission, which allows them to automatically enrol people once they turn 18. Someone who is directly enrolled only has the option to opt out if they are ineligible for voting.
For more information, call 13 18 32 or visit the VEC website.