Almost one million people have already voted in the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum, prompting questions as to whether Australia will know the result of the national poll on the night of October 14. Source: 9news.com.au.
The Australian Electoral Commission confirmed that about 950,000 pre-poll votes had been cast in the first three days of early voting.
That’s a similar level to the early pre-poll levels of the 2022 federal election, but it’s too early to tell whether the same rush to the early voting centres continues through this week and next.
Regardless, the AEC said, the “vast majority” of pre-poll votes would be counted on the night of the referendum, as most early voters still voted within their electorate, and it would be unlikely to delay the count.
No early votes are counted before the polls close on October 14.
While early ballots will mostly be available on the night, postal votes are another matter.
The AEC has had about 1.74 million postal vote applications so far – well down on the pandemic-era 2022 federal election, which had about 2.7 million applications at the same stage.
Some postal votes will be counted on the night of the referendum, but others may not have found their way to a counting centre by then, potentially delaying the result, particularly in the context of a close context.
As with a federal election, the ballot count is repeated when it is complete, to ensure the accuracy of the result.
“Like in a federal election, if the overall result is close it may require up to 13 days after polling night for a result to be known,” the AEC said on its website.
Australia could wait almost two weeks for referendum result (By Adam Fidler, 9news.com.au)
Warrane Lecture tackles Voice referendum (The Catholic Weekly)