Image source: Bunbury Mail
By Jonathon Poulson | @jonoriley97
Voting enrolments in this year’s election were expected to exceed previous years’, with over 97 per cent of people eligible to vote enrolling to have their say.
On Saturday, May 18, 2019, after 6pm in 151 electorates across Australia, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) were able to count more than 20 million ballot papers to deliver an election night result.
ABC’s Vote Compass predicted around one million more people voted this year, including 50,000 Australians aged 18 to 24 voting for the first time.
That makes this year’s election the first poll where those born in the current millennium had their voice heard.
The AEC and its team of 90,000 temporary staff were able to count more votes on election night than ever before.
There were a record-breaking 4 million pre-poll votes cast around the country before election day, with some still being transported for counting.
Close to 1.5 million people applied for a postal vote this election – a slight increase on 2016 figures.
The team were able to count more than 90 per cent of pre-poll votes that were submitted within an elector’s home division.
However, the remaining pre-poll votes, declaration votes, and postal votes will be counted in the following days, which may cause a delay to the final result.
Ballot papers will be transported from over 90 overseas locations, and from regional and remote areas via nationwide postal services.
The AEC announced in a media release on their official Twitter page, “it is incredibly pleasing that the vast majority of Australians reported experiencing a smooth voting experience and were able to cast their vote without waiting too long”.
The spike in pre-poll votes means there were 4 million fewer people streaming into voting centres to support their beliefs and enjoy a democracy sausage.
Although there were no complaints of queues, others noticed the diluted atmosphere.
Labor volunteer Rick, from the Marion Council voting centre, spoke of his memory of elections and how “It used to be busier and you would meet people and have chats in the queue”.
It was a successful voting turnout for the 2019 federal election, but a change in the way Australians chose to engage and participate in national politics.