With the Australian Federal Election now called for May 21, 2022, it's important that we take a moment to work out… how do I vote from America in the Australian Federal Election 2022 and do I have to!? There are lots of rules and regulations about who can vote, how to do it, and where you can vote so it's good you're here to find out more.
This is all relatively painless, so let's go through what's required of you as an Australian Citizen (I'm assuming at least that much if you've got this far into this post!
The first thing you should know is that the Australian Electoral Commission's (AEC) website is really good. So you should definitely go there and read up. But I've tried to distill the essentials below!
The second (really important) thing you must know is that if you're not already enrolled to vote overseas, then you must do that before they close of rolls. Each election there is an enrolment deadline that occurs approximately a week after an election is announced. If you are not correctly enrolled by this deadline, you may not be able to vote.
The close of rolls happens on April 18 in Australia for the 2022 Federal Election.
Do I have to vote in Australian elections from overseas?
If you are overseas and intending to return to Australia within six years, you can register as an overseas elector. If you are already enrolled, you can register up to three months before, or within three years after, you leave Australia.
First, you have to think about that and whether you are intending to return to Australia within six years! If you are not intending to return then you should fill out an “Overseas notification form” and it means:
If you are moving overseas indefinitely your name will be removed from the electoral roll and you will not be able to vote in any federal elections held while you are overseas.
So, if you are intending to return within six years the next question is whether you are already enrolled to vote or not (to find out, keep scrolling), from the AEC, again:
If you are not already enrolled, and have been overseas for less than three years, you must first enrol to vote.
If you are already enrolled, you can apply up to three months before, or within three years after, you leave Australia.
If you are already enrolled, complete and submit an overseas notification form. This form provides you with the option to keep your details on the electoral roll so you will be able to vote in federal elections while overseas.
If you are not enrolled, and have been overseas for less than three years, you may still be eligible to enrol if you are:
- an Australian citizen aged 18 years or older, and
- intending to return to Australia within six years.
Do I have to be specially enrolled to vote overseas in Australia to vote overseas?
No you just need to be enrolled at all. You can go straight to the local Consulate and vote even if you're not properly registered to vote overseas.
How to find out whether you're enrolled to vote in Australia
To find out whether you are already enrolled to vote (at your previous Australian address, if you haven't already notified the AEC), you can head to “Check my enrollment” on the AEC's website, put in your old Australian address and find out!
If you are enrolled, you really have to make sure you do the above to make sure you avoid any penalties.
Can you register to vote overseas if you (or your children) just turned 18?
They can register to vote too!
If you are the child of a person who is registered as an overseas elector you can enrol and vote in federal elections if you:
- have never been enrolled
- are an Australian citizen
- are 18 years or older and had not turned 18 before leaving Australia, and
- intend to return to live in Australia within six years after your 18th birthday.
They just need to fill out a form to Enrol to vote as the spouse, de facto partner or child of an overseas elector for federal elections.
How to vote in Australian elections while in America
If you'd like to vote in person (for New York, keep reading below), check out the AEC's list of “Planned Overseas Voting Centres to offer in-person voting at the upcoming election“.
If you've done all the steps above, you will also be posted a postal vote, and you can fill that in and send it back within the time they've specified, andyou do not have to be registered especially to vote overseas!
I'll be updating this page in the coming days and weeks with more information about locations across the United States.
How and where to vote in New York City
The Australian Consulate-General in New York (Midtown) is offering in-person voting for the 2022 Australian federal election. Members of the public must provide photo ID in order to gain access to the Consulate. An ID is not required to vote.
The Consulate will be open to voters already enrolled with the Australian Electoral Commission from 9am-5pm weekdays from May 9 to May 20, 2022 (but on the weekend of May 14-15).
Enter the building via 375 Lexington Avenue, NYC 10017.
In keeping with a classic Australian tradition, ‘Democracy Sausages' will be served at lunchtime only, for a limited period. It will be a case of first in, best dressed… and let us know whether to hold the onions!
How and where to vote in-person in Los Angeles, California
There will be no in-person voting in Los Angeles, California. You will need to do a mail-in vote to Australia.
How and where to vote in-person in San Francisco, California
The Australian Consulate in San Fransisco, California will be offering in-person voting for the 2022 Australian federal election. Information coming soon.
How and where to vote in-person in Houston, Texas
There will be no in-person voting in Houston, Texas. You will need to do a mail-in vote to Australia.
How and where to vote in-person in Washington DC
There will be no in-person voting in Washington DC. You will need to do a mail-in vote to Australia.
How and where to vote in-person in Chicago, Illinois
More information will be updated here when it's available
How and where to vote in-person in Honolulu, Hawaii
More information will be updated here when it's available