Travelling and the July 2 election.

Submitted: Friday, May 13, 2016 at 01:22
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We head out in a week for 8/10/12 weeks on the road, with all but the last few days out of our home state. The duration is unclear as weather may well cause us to wait for tracks to dry out. The timing is a bit inconvenient in relation to the upcoming federal election.

After discussion with Electoral Commission yesterday, it appears that we will be effectively disenfranchised:
(a) we leave before the candidates are determined (and therefore forms published) so we can't exercise an EARLY vote.
(b) we COULD opt for a postal vote, except we don't know with any certainty where we will be at the time they post out the forms. Not much point saying "c/o PO Marree" if we - or the forms - are held up by wet tracks ...
(c) being out of our home/enrolled state the regular absentee voting option is not available, but their only suggestion was to attend a voting centre where interstate voting can be carried out. When I asked where they are in Qld or SA, I was informed there is one in Brissie and one in Adelaide.

I suspect that we are far from alone in this situation. When I pointed out to the EC's CSR that the election would be held at peak "grey nomad" migration time and a whole "class" of voters would be disenfranchised, he confirmed I wasn't the first person asking him the same questions that day.

In this modern age, I can purchase goods via the internet or carry out banking operations using my smartphone with little more than a password or PIN as ID, but it seems that electorally our methods haven't advanced in a century.
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Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 04:31

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 04:31
This is not a lot of help to you but this occurred for me.

In 2010, I was returning from Cape York when that dysfunctional election was held. I was staying in Port Douglas and was able to vote absentee there with no problem.

Last year, I was away from home for the NSW State election. I was able to vote on my laptop. I had to be subjected to some security checks and ended with appropriate digital access and also the ability to check that my vote went through.

However, it appears that the upcoming election is still in the past as you suggest. with the use of pencils and voting papers. This method allows crooks to "vote early and vote often" as has been done by unscrupulous people

Maybe we should be harassing the local MP to encourage them to push for a change.

Duncan W
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Reply By: Member - Peter M (QLD) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 07:22

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 07:22
You can go to any poling booth and ask for an absentee vote and when they tell you that they don't have the necessary forms etc. You then ask them to record your request in their record book. They have to do it and in theory you will not lose your right to vote.
We have done this after being told we had to travel 250kms out of our way to vote absentee when in Northern NSW.
I have often wondered why a bankrupt country like Greece can hold a referendum in 3 weeks with full voter turnout on line and in person and a country like Australia (that is trying to emulate Greece and become bankrupt) can't.
I believe it is because Government Employees are fighting the digital age because they fear job losses. Just look at Centrelink for an example of this.
Go on line tell them you have moved or whatever accept a declaration. Then they post out a form to you. Even if you have digitally sent them a copy of a completed and signed form.
60c in the tax dollar goes to support these people.
PeteM Qld
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Reply By: Member - John T (Tamworth NSW) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 07:48

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 07:48
Good morning Zippo
I will be in similar circumstances as yourselves come 2nd July. I live in NSW but will be leaving home mid June and will be in Qld until mid to late July doing volunteer work with BlazeAid somewhere near Muttaburra and probably some distance from any polling booth. I have sent an enquiry to the AEC and await their reply (hopefully before I leave for Qld)

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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 08:13

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 08:13
In the recent Qld local government elections and referendum we were to be out of state and leaving before completions of nominations etc. The AEC said to apply for a postal vote to be sent to our home address. This way we would not be fined because no one could ensure that the postal system would not have problems with delivery. To date we have not received a fine.

Unless you really want to vote to make your voice heard, just advise them of your plans and if you do get a fine just write back and say you could not access a polling booth. It has worked for us on several occasions.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 09:03

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 09:03
We had a similar problem at the 2013 election whilst travelling through northern WA. Like others have mentioned a postal vote was not an option and phone calls to the AEC gave only a recorded generic message. Eventually we found that Broome had an absentee voting centre. The AEC had taken over a shop in the main shopping mall and of course Broome in August is just full of Grey Nomads. The office was extremely busy.
Also the AEC has teams of electoral officers that move around the outback towns and stations prior to the election day.
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Reply By: Jackolux - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 09:15

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 09:15
We are in the same boat , leaving end of this month with no set itinerary , we will be out of our home state and could be anywhere in Oz , most likely somewhere very remote .
We have just filled out the request for a postal vote , not that it will be of any use , we will be on the road before they will be returned .
Stuff em we argue our case if we get fined .
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Reply By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 09:37

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 09:37
In 2013 we were in Queensland and our home state is SA. We were able to vote. I can't remember the exact term for the voting but we voted early, before the date designated and we voted absentee. I'm hopeful the same option is available at this election as although we are home to be able to vote before the day would be good.

Di
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Follow Up By: Ken - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:04

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:04
I think you are missing the point, we like many others are leaving before the nominations close so there isn't a list of candidates to vote for,absentee or postasl.
Ken
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:56

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:56
No I'm not. We had been away from home for 3 months at that stage and the election was called well after we left as were nominations. We'd also been out of communication for some time in that period.

Di
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Follow Up By: Pradobob - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:09

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:09
I'm from SA. I've been in Qld for the last 2 Fed elections. You need to do an interstate vote. The polling booths open about a week before 2nd July. I just got on the 'net and found a booth not far from where I was at the time. (Noosa, Townsville etc).
They had copies of every paper for each electorate in Oz.
Bob
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:20

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:20
You're right, Bob, that's what we did and what we will do this year too. Ours was near Beaudesert.

Di
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 09:39

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 09:39
We had the same situation at the last election. Only resolution was to have Postal Vote forms sent to Oodnadatta Post Office (roadhouse). The forms had not arrived when we attended there so were unable to vote. (and look what happened! lol)
As a defence I wrote a note stating that we attended for collection and had the "Postmaster" stamp, date and sign the note. After the election we did receive a query from the EC and replied enclosing the note. Heard no more.

I think that if you have a plausible explanation and respond to any EC query you would not incur a fine. But ignore them at your peril.
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Reply By: Athol W1 - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:39

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:39
Zippo
In 2013 we were traveling around Australia before either of the Qld State elections, the Qld council elections and the Federal elections were called, so had no chance to even register for any pre-pol or postal vote. As we were in Victoria there was no provision for the State or Council absentee vote, however we did find that there was a pre-poll centre in Swan Hill where we took care of the Federal election duties, and that was done during the week prior to the election. All we had to do was identify ourselves and the electorate in which we were enrolled.

As for the State and Council elections we did receive a please explain, via our daughter who was collecting our redirected mail. As daughter has Power of Attorney she completed the forms stating that we were at whatever location on the day and not within reach of any polling booth. Nothing more has been heard.

We were in a similar position this year with the local Council elections, still waiting on the please explain to arrive.

Hope this helps.
Regards
Athol
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:20

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:20
Athol and Peter have come close to nailing it. As long as you can either attend any electoral office after the candidates have been finalised or attend a poll booth on election day, then the responsibility lies with the AEC. If they don't have sufficient forms for you cast a valid vote (highly unlikely), you can have yourself marked off the roll with an unable to vote form, or something of that like. The AEC have a whole range of categories covering exceptional voting circumstances (medical / address issues etc.). Having worked as an Electoral Official in the last state election, once you're in the door, it becomes the responsibility of the EO to ensure they do everything feasible to ensure you cast a valid vote and have you marked on the roll.
Don't be pushed away. If they can't cast a vote, politely request they find a way to ensure you're marked on/off the roll. There will be a way - if you're not fussed about actually casting a vote, they can find an 'exception' category. EO's do have some 'discretion' in these circumstances.
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:44

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:44
This really is ridiculous - we do everything in this world from shopping to banking to entertainment via the net, yet they can't organise the same when we need to exercise our democratic rights.
We leave home next week and will be in Birdsville by election day, along with many others attending the Big Red Bash the following week - bet there is no absentee polling station there!
Have tried to get an answer from the Electoral Office, with no luck - but then voting only encourages the buggers, doesn't it !!
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 12:52

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 12:52
I solved this problem many years ago. I have not attended a polling booth for years, but I have still voted.
Back prior to the internet I was away and had forgot about an important payment that had to be made while I was away. I asked my daughter to get my spare cheque book from my draw, make the payment using her best copy of my signature and I would fix it up with the bank when I got home. The bank never queried the cheque so now my daughter has substituted for me many times since. This has proven to be very convenient arrangement, not the least at election times. My daughter (and son for that matter) is very appreciative of what I have done for her in the past and I know she will always carry out my wishes to the letter.
Obviously this arrangement will only work if you know and trust someone implicitly. I wish to exercise my vote ( I sometimes wonder why) and this is the best way to ensure this happens no matter where I am. The Government is supposed to ensure all voters can vote, I am just helping them make it happen.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 17:27

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 17:27
So Chris, when she fronts at the polling booth does she wear sunglasses and a stripey wind cheater? LOL
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 21:26

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 21:26
No Allan she is to good looking to pass off as an old fogie. She applies for a postal vote so it does not matter how she looks.
Cheers,
Chris
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 10:35

Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 10:35
Who said anything about "old" Chris?
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 13:01

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 13:01
My grandkids tell me I am old.
However I do not meet the definition old.
The definition of old is "ten years older than you are"
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 13:13

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 13:13
Chris, when in my thirties my daughter tried something on me and I said "Ahh, I wasn't born yesterday you know." She looked up at me with big eyes and said...."Oh no Daddy, you were born a loooong time ago"..... Sobers you up a bit!
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Reply By: Member - John G - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 14:31

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 14:31
It's an interesting reflection on our 'system' that as far as I read, no-one has suggested going to current local member and asking him/her to sort it out for you. They're the ones who want your vote the most, and they're the ones who ought to be driving change so that their constituency can vote.

Enjoy your travels

John
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Follow Up By: Member - John T (Tamworth NSW) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 17:57

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 17:57
Evening John

I have just sent an email to my local member (Barnaby himself) after getting a fairly useless response from the AEC via email. Put my circumstances plainly and asked for his advice.

I await his response and will advise the forum

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 17:26

Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 17:26
I've gone to my local member too, after getting nothing from the Electoral Office. Like John, I'm still waiting for a response.
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Reply By: rocco2010 - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 15:22

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 15:22
Gidday

Election day is Marble Bar Cup day.

And the Cup ball is in the community centre, normally the polling place, on Friday night.

Might have to clear out the revellers to open the polls.

But it is encouraging in this day and age that Zippo is so keen to vote.

Many people are not

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 16:46

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 16:46
I actually take the right (obligation?) to vote very seriously, unlike friends in Merka who generally "can't be bothered". Since becoming old enough to vote, I have maintained a 100% turnout record (and have never knowingly lodged an informal vote). Fortunately my overseas travels have been able to allow a postal vote. People who don't vote get a government chosen by others.

I spent time this morning in the Perth office of AEC. It appears June 12-ish is when the candidate lists will be available. Interstate pre-poll voting centres are - would you believe - still undetermined at this stage, although they should be known by June 14. You'd think they had never run an election before.

They DO have a facility to record your details and your best-guess out-of-state time window. They then check your entry on the roll and a note is affixed. This does NOT prevent you voting if you find an opportunity, but does provide (in theory at least) protection against the otherwise inevitable "you_do_not_appear_to_have_voted" letter, and certainly does provide immunity from a fine.

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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 16:55

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 16:55
Good for you Zippo. We are on the same page with regards to voting.

Hope you enjoy your trip wherever you are going.

Cheers

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Reply By: Member - Christine and Lindsay - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 17:03

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 17:03
Just to be a bit of a poser! We voted in New York in 2013. It was a funny experience going up a lift in New York and entering a mini-

Australia. Hearing Aussie accents and lining up for at least an hour on seats , playing musical chairs by moving up one seat every time someone got a turn to vote. Can't remember which election but do remember all of this. On reflection not sure it was worth the bother. This time we will be in Cape York. No chairs!
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Reply By: wendys - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 17:08

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 17:08
You will find that there are pre-polling centres set up in many regional towns. You go and vote ahead of the actual polling day. The staff will have a book that lists the candidates for all H of Reps electorates interstate - and they can write the names of these onto blank papers printed for this purpose. They will have a supply of Senate ballot papers for each state.
We live in Melbourne and voted in this way in 2013 election, in Innisfail in Far North Qld.
I used the Internet to find out the nearest pre-poll centre to where we were staying at the time.
Note that it is pre- election day that you do this. Centres are open for a week or two before the election.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 23:06

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 23:06
If you find you are unable to vote at all Zippo (not able to get a postal vote sent a known location, access a polling booth on the day, to attend a town with an electoral office to lodge and early vote) contact the the electoral commission when you are in phone range leading up to the polling date.

We missed a state election; it was called with only four weeks lead up, and we were touring in the Northern Territory. Just over a week prior to the election, the campers next to us were Western Australians and told us about the election. He said he had phoned the electoral office on their freecall number and they marked him off as unable to vote.

When we got back to Alice Springs, I tried phoning the number but it was "not available out of the state". So I emailed - late on a Friday afternoon, a week before polling day, giving our details and explaining we were leaving Alice Springs the next day, and would be out of phone range for some weeks touring in Central Australia and returning to Western Australia from Yulara to Laverton.

The reply I got was "You can vote in Darwin". After giving her a short geography lesson, she said she could mark us off as unable to vote, if I gave her our full names and electoral roll address. I referred her to the title line and the first paragraph of the conversation. No problems in the end, no fines, but no opportunity to vote.



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Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 23:31

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 23:31
MH: The reply I got was "You can vote in Darwin"

I can believe that (and their lack of basic Oz geography knowledge!)

The AEC CSR I spoke to by phone (Wednesday?) said similar. When advised we were travelling in SW QLD and N/NE SA, he suggested Adelaide or Brisbane. (At least he knew those two capitals!) He was unaware that there could even be other centres where an interstate (early) vote could be exercised. Whether there will be any convenient to us will become clearer after June 14 hopefully.Innisfail (mentioned by another EOer) is at least a decent size centre, rather different to where we expect to be (Birdsville/Marree/Oodnadatta) in the week or two leading up to polling day.
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Reply By: LAZYLUX16 - Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 12:13

Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 12:13
Hi Zippo I hope voting never becomes electronic ask the Americans !!
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 15:44

Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 15:44
I know enough Merkins to appreciate their voting system, warts and all. It's about as democratic and idiot-proof as their presidential election system.

But there is scope for qualified electronic voting ON APPLICATION. I keep wondering what results skewing arises from grey nomad non-voting (for whatever reason).
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