So the 2022 Australian federal election will be held on Saturday 21 May. That’s three years to the weekend since the last election.
The wild theories that the Prime Minister would delay the House election until later in the year proved to be, as expected, completely wrong.
The relevant dates for the election are:
Dissolution and Issue of Writs – tomorrow, Monday 11 April
Close of Rolls – Monday 18 April. This is Easter Monday so the Easter break will complicate people trying to enrol or update their details. You can find the AEC’s new enrolment page here, and update enrolment form here.
Close of Nominations – Thursday 21 April. Ballot draw and release of nominations will be on Friday 22 April. Postal votes will not be sent to voters until after the close of nominations, which means after the Anzac Day weekend.
Postal Vote Applications – Can be applied for now through the AEC website. You must apply for a postal vote by Wednesday 18 May, but you are better applying well before the close of application date if you hope to receive your postal vote pack before polling day.
Pre-poll-Voting begins – Monday 9 May. Note that the Electoral Act has been changed since 2019 to shorten pre-poll voting to two weeks instead of three.
Polling Day – Saturday 21 May.
The election period is six weeks instead of the usual five. This means there are four weeks between close of nominations and polling day. With pre-poll voting now limited to two weeks, people cannot vote in person until four weeks into the election campaign.
However, it is likely that political parties will flood the electorate with postal vote applications in the two weeks before pre-poll starts encourage people to vote by post. Read my notes on postal voting inside this port.
Inside the post I also include links to my background material on the 2022 Federal election at the ABC election website.
A Few Hints on Applying for a Postal Vote
If you are thinking of postal voting, remember these points.
- Only use a postal vote if you have to. The details written on a postal vote envelope must exactly match what’s on your application and what’s on the electoral roll. This test, along with delays caused through transmission by post, result in many postal votes being rejected. These envelopes are not opened so the enclosed ballot papers are never admitted to the count. If you vote in person, by pre-poll or on polling day, your ballot paper goes into a ballot box and is always counted. There is no such guarantee with postal votes.
- You may receive applications from political parties, often confusingly labelled “Important voting material”. If you google search postal voting, the first sites offered will often be paid party sites asking you to enter your details before re-directing you to the AEC. The parties are supposed to pass your application to the AEC, but this step just adds an extra delay to the process. Applying with a party application means you will be sent how-to-vote material. If you want a postal vote, the best way to do it is via the AEC’s on-line postal vote application site. And the earlier you apply the better. Follow this link to the on-line application form at the Australian Election Commission’s (AEC) website.
- Pay close attention to the details that need to be completed on your postal vote application and envelope. Make sure the necessary signatures and dates are completed. If your whole household has received postal votes, they must be returned separately, with only one House and Senate ballot paper returned in each envelope. Don’t send all your household’s ballot papers back in one envelope.
Again, only postal vote if you cannot vote in person either by pre-poll or at a polling place on 21 May.
My ABC Election Guide
This set of links is for people who end up at this blog page while looking for information on the election.
These are links to my Election Guide at the ABC. The guide includes a full page of background material on each electorate, including the candidates for each electorate. You can navigate to the individual pages within the site using the summary pages and the indexes on the ABC election home page and from all pages within the guide.
Overall Summary – A recap of some history, the last election result and the three years of politics since. Includes a quick wrap around states on where the election will be decided. The page has links at the top to a more detailed summary for each state and territory. Some of the electorate details on the page link to the full page for each seat.
Key Seats – a paragraph on each of the key seats at the election, listed by party and margin. Each paragraph includes a link to the full page of background material on the electorate.
Retiring MPs – brief profiles of the MPs not re-contesting.
Electorate Index – a page listing the 151 electorates in alphabetic order with holding party and margin. The Electorate name is a link through to the full profile page for the electorate.
Candidate Index – a list of all candidates contesting the election. Click on the electorate name for a link through to the full profile for the electorate.
Pendulum Index – lists all seats by party and margin. Click on the electorate name shown for each candidate to link through to the full profile page for the electorate.
Calculator – an interactive tool that allows you to enter a uniform swing, national or by state, or select a published poll, and see the result that your choice might produce.
Senate Guide – still under construction. Out later this week.
Preferences Preferences Preferences
I get more contacts about preferences than any other subject.
Preferences are entirely under the control of each voter. Parties and candidates cannot direct your preferences to any other party or candidate. The preferences that count are the numbers that you write on your ballot paper. The preferences of your ballot paper flow accoring to the numbers you write on your ballot paper.
House (local electorate) Ballot Paper – you must number all the squares. The ballot paper instructions will tell you how many numbers to complete. Put a ‘1’ next to the candidate you would most like to see elected, then a ‘2’ next to your second choice, then ‘3’ and so on. The numbers must be consecutive so your vote will not count if you double up or miss a number.
The Senate ballot paper is divided into two areas. You can vote ‘above the line’ for parties or ‘below the line’ for candidates. Voting above the line changed in 2016 so parties no longer control preferences to other parties. Whether you vote above or below the line, you the voter maintain full control over between-party preferences.
Senate ‘Above the Line’ vote – You are voting for parties and your preferences are imputed to be for the candidates listed in each party column. The ballot paper instructions say number at least 1 to 6. If you want to go beyond six, your preferences continue to count. The more preferences you give for parties, the more likely your vote will stay live through to the end of the count. Once again, number parties ‘1’ for your most preferred party, then ‘2’ for your second choice, and so on to the suggested minimum six, and beyond if you wish.
Senate ‘below the line’ vote – the instructions say to number a minimum 12 preferences for candidates. You only need to go below the line if you wish to re-order the candidates of any party, or to pick and choose candidates from each party list. You also have to vote below the line if you want to vote for candidates in the ungrouped column. 12 preferences is the minimum number and your vote is more likely to stay live in the count the more preferences you complete.
Again, I cannot stress enough that candidates and parties cannot control your preferences. They will try to influence what you do by handing out how-to-vote material. But you do not have to follow how-to-vote recommendations. Nor can these recommendations control your preferences as the only preferences that are counted are the ones you write on the ballot paper.