How Does An Australian Expat Vote in the Australian Federal Election
How Does An Australian Expat Vote in the Australian Federal Election – one of the most question that we get asked is can a Australian expat vote in either the local, state or federal elections back in Australia?
As an Australian citizen living overseas you have two options when it comes to voting in Australia:
- Register as an overseas elector – if you plan on being overseas for a period of less than 6 years then you can register yourself as a Overseas Elector. If you are already on the electoral roll then this can be done three months before or up to 3 years after you have left Australia. All you need to do is complete this form. If you are not on the electoral roll and you have been living overseas for less than three years then you may still be eligible to enroll as long as you are over the age of 18 and intend to return to Australia within the next 6 years.
- Remove yourself from the electoral roll completely – if you plan on living overseas indefinitely or don’t plan to return to Australia within the next 6 years then you can submit a Overseas Notification form. By completing this form you will be removed from the Electoral roll. Please note that if you don’t vote or notify the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) that you are overseas you may be fined.
If you have been overseas for more than six years and you still want to vote, you can write to the Divisional Returning Officer at email@example.com. They will have your registration as an overseas elector extended by one year at a time. You must do this in the three months before your registration is due to expire.
So now you know whether you are going to vote or not we will run through your voting options which will always depend on which town, city and country you live in.
Voting Option 1 – Go To An Embassy
Australia has a large number of embassies, consulates and high commissions throughout the world however not all offer the ability to vote in person so you will need to check with your local mission to see if they offer this.
The Australian Electoral Commission has put together this Excel spreadsheet which lists the missions that provide this service however you should always check with them (via social media is our tip) to confirm this before you make the trek.
Voting Option 2 – Postal Vote
If you can’t make it to one of the overseas voting centres then you can apply for a postal vote. You can apply for a postal vote by going to this AEC page. The AEC will start mailing voting papers to registered postal voters when nominations for candidates have been declared and the ballot papers are available.
In order for your vote to count ballot papers must be completed and witnessed on or before the election day and posted back to the AEC. You have up to 13 days after the election for your ballot papers to be received by the AEC.
To ensure the legitimacy of your ballot paper it must be witnessed by an authorised person from the following list:
- An Australian citizen
- A Defence force officer of a Commonwealth country
- A Justice of the Peace for a Commonwealth country
- A medical practitioner or minister of religion resident in a Commonwealth country
- A civil or public service member of a Commonwealth country
- A person appointed or engaged under the Public Service Act 1999