As we all know, voting in a federal election is compulsory for all Australian citizens (over 18), and can cause some stress and confusion for senior Australians living in residential aged care homes.
Thankfully, the Australian Electoral Commission has several support services in place to ensure every resident living in aged care is supported when it comes to election day.
Register as a Postal Voter
For many aged care residents, getting to a polling booth on election day can be difficult and sometimes impossible, which is where the postal vote comes in.
Residents can register to be a postal voter on the AEC website, where a form can be filled out online, or a PDF printed, filled out and scanned. Family or staff members can also pick up a registration form from any local AEC office or post office and mail/fax/drop off these forms once filled out.
Click here to find an AEC office near you.
Eligible reasons for being a postal voter include:
- Voter is a patient in a hospital or nursing home who cannot travel to a polling booth
- Voter is unable to get to a polling booth due to medical reasons (including ageing)
Once registration is complete and submitted, ballot papers will be mailed out. Aged Care residents can ask for assistance when filling out their ballot papers.
Residents living in aged care homes may be able to access early voting through mobile voting booths. These booths visit aged care homes to allow residents (and staff) to lodge their vote.
Due to COVID-19, this service may not be available at your aged care home. If you have any questions or concerns, speak to the home manager to find out if mobile voting is available for the 2022 federal election.
If a mobile voting booth is not available, early voting is! Older Australians can visit a polling booth before election day (starting on 9 May 2022) to lodge their ballot.
Find an early voting site near you.
Assistance to Vote at a Polling Place
If you or your loved one needs assistance to vote at a polling place, a friend, family member or another person can be nominated to help and enter an unoccupied polling booth together. The nominated person helps to complete, fold, and deposit the ballot paper in the ballot box.
Staff at each polling place are also trained to assist senior Australians to vote if no other support person is available.
Those aged care residents who are blind or vision impaired can access the AEC’s telephone voting system. To register call 1800 913 993.
Can Aged Care Residents Living with Dementia Vote?
If someone is in the early stages of dementia or memory loss, they may still be able to vote. It is important to talk to the person and their doctor to determine if they maintain the capacity to understand the voting process.
If an aged care resident has more advanced dementia and can no longer understand the nature of voting in an election, they will need to be removed from the electoral roll. This can be done by filling out this form and submitting it to the AEC.
The Australian federal election will be held on Saturday 21 May 2022