How to enrol to vote online in federal election 2022: What you need to do to avoid a fine

For everyday Australian, election day comprises of rocking up to the local school, picking up a sausage sandwich and ticking a couple of boxes.

But for tens of thousands of people behind the scenes, the lead-up to the day itself is months and months of work.

Watch the video above: How Australia’s voting system works

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called the federal election, meaning eligible Australians will decide who forms government in a little over a month.

The Australian Electoral Commission, the body that oversees and organizes elections, has been preparing for the day since last year.

“Essentially we’ve been ready to run an election for a little while, because the election could have been called as early as August last year,” the AEC’s spokesperson Evan Ekin-Smyth told 7NEWS.com.au.

What is happening now?

The firing of the starting gun, however, kicks preparations up a notch.

The AEC has to finalize where people will vote, who will work at the polling stations and how all the voting material will get there.

“We’ve got warehouse facilities across the country that are sitting there with materials ready to pick up and be sent out to different polling places,” Ekin-Smyth said.

“We’ve got a register of interest for staff that sits a bit over 200,000 people, ready to tell them the specific date and get the 105,000-odd that we need.

“We’ve also got venues that have been tentatively booked in. But, of course, we don’t have a day so we need to fill in all those. ”

Boxes of information, ready for polling booths are seen at an Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) warehouse in Queanbeyan.
Boxes of information, ready for polling booths are seen at an Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) warehouse in Queanbeyan. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

There’s also the matter of getting people eligible to vote registered.

More than 17 million people are currently enrolled to vote in mid-May – but there are still tens of thousands outstanding.

Australians are being told to check they’re already enrolled correctly, or enrol for the first time.

Ekin-Smyth said they have about a week to enroll from the day that the election is called.

“We always have a heck of a lot of enrolments come through. So we have a verifying process for those and it’ll be hundreds of thousands in that week. “

Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) employees organize boxes of information.
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) employees organize boxes of information. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

Voting in Australia is compulsory and failing to do so can land you $ 20 fine.

But the biggest penalty, Ekin-Smyth says, is missing the opportunity to have your say.

How to enrol to vote

To enrol to vote for the first time, get back on the electoral roll or change your name or address, visit the AEC website here.

A driver’s license, Australian passport number or someone who is enrolled to confirm your identity is required.

Alternately, you can print pr pick up a PDF form from an AEC office and return it to the AEC.

Australians can also check their enrolment status at the AEC website here.

What happens after you cast your vote?

In an era where technology reigns supreme, the meticulous and timely act of counting votes on election night is still done by hand.

Thousands of AEC workers will count each and every vote after the polls close.

With more than 17 million Australians voting for both the Senate and the House of Representatives, there are upwards of 34 million ballots to get through.

Ekin-Smyth said that as many as 24 million papers are counted on election night.

Watch the video below: What the polls are predicting in 2022

Support for the Coalition dropping as federal election looms.

Support for the Coalition dropping as federal election looms.

Depending on how the votes turn out, a winning government could be crowned that night.

“The count will continue either way and we’ll be having ballot papers coming back to us – if they’ve become votes in the days and a couple of weeks after election day and where people cast through an early voting center on the other side of country to where they live or casted overseas.

“For instance, we have all those ballot papers coming back to us as well. And there’s something like 40,000 transport routes that they use in total to get them back to us.

“It’s a significant exercise, the count, but our motto is ‘right, not rushed’.”

Then what?

Once all the votes are counted or once we know who has an unassailable lead, the winners of each seat are declared.

The party with the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, which is 76 or more of the 151 seats, is declared the winner and their leader becomes the prime minister.

Generally, the leader of the party that is not in a position to win will get in contact with the victor to concede the election and congratulate their counterpart.

If Anthony Albanese wins, he will be sworn in by Governor-General David Hurley as Australia’s 31st prime minister.

How do the polls look?

The latest Newspoll, conducted for The Australian, predicts a significant victory for Labor.

However, as Australians learn in the last federal election, polls can be wrong.

Released last Sunday, the Newspoll indicated that the Coalition was gaining ground on Labor following the federal budget last Tuesday.

Thirty-eight per cent of voters would vote for the Labor party in the next election, it says, a decrease of three points from the previous poll.

The Coalition improved one point to 36 per cent.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Labor retains a clear lead in the two-party preferred polling, where despite the Coalition tightening the gap by a point the opposition remains eight percentage points ahead at 54-46.

Asked who would be a better prime minister, the poll of just over 1,500 voters sided narrowly with Morrison, who improved by a point to 43 per cent.

Albanese remained unchanged on 42 per cent.

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