The federal election is set to be big and peak early.
- 97 per cent of eligible Australians are enrolled to vote, the highest rate ever
- Around 17 million Australians are on the electoral roll
- One-quarter of voters are likely to vote early in 2019
Close to 17 million Australians are enrolled to vote, around a million more than the 2016 poll.
And the increase is not just down to population growth.
The participation rate — the number of people on the roll compared to the number calculated to be eligible to vote — climbed from 95 per cent three years ago to 97 per cent.
Electoral commissioner Tom Rogers said that was the “highest percentage since Federation” and attributed the rise to outreach efforts of his organisation in the last three elections.
The 2019 election is the first poll in which those born in the current millennium will have a vote.
Approximately 50,000 Australians aged 18 to 24 will vote for the first time.
Rolls closed on Thursday at 8pm ahead of the election on Saturday, 18 May.
Intolerance for queues
Mr Rogers described the coming election as “the largest single peacetime logistics event” ever undertaken.
Approximately 7,000 polling places will be staffed, and more than 50,000 ballot papers will be printed.
All up it will cost taxpayers around $300 million, or $18 per voter.
“We’ve been saying in the average adult Australian’s lifetime, you are likely to consume around 40 democracy sausages, election falafels or election cakes if you add state and federal elections,” he said.
“It’s important we get [the experience] right.”
Three in four voters were in and out of the polling place within 15 minutes at the 2016 election, according to the commission.
Mr Rogers has promised more staff, better queueing and additional booths this year.
Despite these efforts, more Australians than ever are predicted to vote early.
In 2007, just 8 per cent of ballots were lodged early.
By 2016 that number had risen to 23 per cent.
“Australians’ tolerance for queueing is diminishing over time,” Mr Rogers said.
He said voters were happier in the pre-poll queue than the one on election day.
Formally, voters still need to provide a reason why they cannot make it to a polling place on election day in order to vote early.