Grey nomads to be exempt from compulsory voting?

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Grey nomads get ready to vote
An election is coming ... but will you be near a polling station on the big day?

With a Federal Election looming in the next few months, grey nomads will soon be wrestling with a difficult conundrum … how do I avoid getting a fine if my circumstances dictate I won’t physically be able to vote?

The Australian Electoral Commission asks that long-term travellers informs it  of their absence from their permanent address so they stay  on the electoral roll. From there, the voting options include early voting, applying for a postal vote, or casting an interstate vote on polling day.

However, as many full-time travellers know organising one of these options can slip down the priority list as days of bushwalking, campchair sitting, and Outback driving intervene!

In South Australia, at least, these difficulties appear to have been recognised. The Electoral Commission of SA has proposed that homeless people and grey nomads be exempted from compulsory voting.

The state’s electoral body also wants all South Australians to be able to avoid polling day queues and vote up to two weeks early in State elections. The Adelaide Advertiser reports that people previously had to meet certain criteria to be permitted to vote early at pre-poll voting centres.

The Electoral Commission of SA (ECSA) now wants this criteria abolished “to allow any enrolled elector to opt for convenience voting at a pre-poll voting centre in the fortnight prior to polling day”.

The proposal was among 16 recommendations the Commission made in its 2018 State Election report, just tabled in Parliament.

“ECSA recognises that in addition to changing demands on people’s time on Saturdays, public expectations about voting have profoundly changed,” the report reads. “Research has shown that electors want convenient options that allow them to fulfil their democratic duty and obligations under compulsory voting.”

The Commission has also recommended that electronic postal voting be made available to electors who are overseas, in non-metropolitan interstate locations or in remote South Australia; and that people should be able to enrol to vote up to and on polling day.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the State Government would consider the recommendations.

“I look forward to working with the Electoral Commissioner on ways to make it easier for people to vote and strengthen our electoral processes,” she told the Advertiser.

  • Have you had trouble casting your vote while travelling? Comment below.
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11 Responses to Grey nomads to be exempt from compulsory voting?

  1. I wont be around come election time, i would not even know where I would be, so how can I do a early or postal Vote

  2. How do you plan when the date of the federal election hasn’t even become public yet??? We all are assuming it’s May

  3. Our biggest problem when not travelling in your home state is knowing when a state / local election is on. About three minutes ago I found out that NSW is about to have a state election and we had no idea!

  4. This isn’t rocket surgery for crying out loud – stay informed and do a postal vote – what else do you have to do all day long? – Australians have become pussyfied cry babies, Grow up!!

    • Well said Andrew. Some people will always find something to whinge about.If it’s not the roads , c/van parks , free camping, then they grizzle about how to vote while away. Stay home and let those who are prepared to do a postal vote have more room on the road. Thank goodness for the few positive stories because this page is becoming a real whinging page. Toughen up or stay home . Please. That’s my grizzle!

  5. I agree with the comment Andrew has made…!

  6. Dont tell me they have dug up someone worth voting for and can you be sure the person you vote for will be there 10 minutes after the election.I personally dont think anybody from any side is worth voting for. Might as well have Ronald Mc Donald. Stevo.

  7. We registered as Itinerant voters and are able to vote in Federal elections – with out penalty as we never know where we are going to be — and we can also vote earlier — so may be worth looking into for most of us very nomads

  8. Totally agree with Paul.

  9. Give us fixed term elections like most states & councils, instead of this secret squirrel stuff our kindergarten pollies dish up at present.

  10. We were in Carnarvon WA last Federal Election and organised to be there at that time as it was advertised as an “Interstate Polling Booth”. Rolled up early on the 1st day and joined the queue. Some aggravation was happening at the front but no-one told the rest of us. It took a while of unhappy Voters complaining to Officials to finally find out that the only Senate papers they had were for WA residents. They had no idea if they were getting any and the system is so hopeless that they can’t even print them on the spot. You could vote for the House of Reps but then were noted as having voted so couldn’t vote elsewhere or even come back again. The nearest alternates were Karratha or Geraldton but they had no info if even they had the Senate papers. So many people from so many Interstate Electorates were therefore disenfranchised through incompetence of the Electoral Commission in WA. We were there in good faith, they stuffed up. If there had been enough Voters from any particular Electorate then it could have resulted in the Vote being invalid and having to be run again. What we should have done was not vote at all then wait for the inevitable attempt to fine us. Direct communication with our own Federal MP and the Electoral Commission failed to even get an answer.

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