Australian expats assured that all absentee ballots would be counted as voting booths reduced: AEC

Australia’s Electoral Commission insists every postal vote from overseas will be counted after the Federal Government drastically reduced the number of embassies that would be used as polling stations.

According to the commission, only 19 of the 109 designated overseas voting booths will operate during this election as embassies seek to reduce the risk of COVID infection.

From the United States to Japan, many overseas voters feared their vote would be lost in the mail if physical ballot packs did not return to Australia in time to be counted.

Jane Herbert, a retired Australian storm chaser living in Kansas, US, said she would vote by mail-in ballot.

Without the help of polling booth volunteers, the AEC website remained the only resource for those voting from home. Herbert, an avowed ‘computer nerd’, said it was too complicated for the average user and should be streamlined if mail-in ballots were to be the primary or only avenue for most overseas citizens.

Jane Herbert will be voting from Kansas, USA in this federal election. But she wishes it was a little easier for overseas Australians to participate.Credit:Jane Herbert

“The website could have clearer instructions for registering to vote from abroad. The wording is confusing,” she said, noting that creating an online voting system through a MyGov online account would be a better alternative to mail-in votes.

His main concern was simple, but shared by many Australians living away from home.

“I just want to make sure our votes are counted,” she said.

AEC spokesman Evan Ekin-Smyth was adamant that every Australian’s vote would count, no matter where they lived.

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