Record number of Australians cast ballots in early voting

A record number of Australians have cast their ballots on the first day of pre-polling for the general elections, the country’s poll body announced on Tuesday.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), more than 300,000 people cast their votes on the first day of early voting on Monday, reports Xinhua news agency.

It represents an almost three-fold increase from 120,000 on the first day in the 2019 election.

More than 500 pre-poll voting booths opened on Monday in the lead-up to the election day on May 21.

Voting in elections is mandatory for all Australians aged 18 and over who are enrolled with the AEC.

About 17 million people in the country, where the population is around 26 million, were enrolled to vote in the 2022 general elections.

While the AEC encourages Australians to vote on the election day, those who cannot can either attend pre-polling locations or cast a postal ballot.

People who are in isolation with Covid-19 can vote over the phone.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said he was not surprised by the large turnout on day one of pre-polling.

“We were expecting an increase in pre-poll and that’s exactly what we’re seeing at the moment,” he told local media on Tuesday.

“But the more in envelopes through pre-poll and postal, the harder it will be to determine a result on the night.”

Approximately 40 per cent of Australians voted either early or by post at the 2019 election.

Rogers told the media on Monday that the AEC expects the figure to be even higher for the upcoming election.

Almost 2 million Australians have already applied to vote by post compared to 1.5 million in 2019.

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