News

One in four voters cast their vote early

By Cobram Courier

A record 16.4million Australians were enrolled to vote in Saturday’s federal election, with more than four million people — one on in four — voting before election day, up from one in five in 2016.

It was the first time Cobram Civic Centre was open for pre-polling and it was well received, with almost three-quarters of votes at the venue coming before May 18.

The popularity of pre-polling was reflected across the region with early voting centres across Nicholls seeing record turnouts.

The early voting period has come under scrutiny from both sides of politics questioning if three weeks was too long, suggesting the length could be reviewed in future.

During the pre-polling period, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the early voting period made it hard for MPs holding a portfolio to cover their electorates as well travel to other parts of the country.

‘‘It does feel a bit long, three weeks,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s an issue that will probably be revisited by both sides of politics after this election.’’

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the length of pre-polling should be reviewed.

‘‘I would have thought that needs to be looked at,’’ he said.

‘‘I think pre-poll voting is very valuable but three weeks is a very, very long time.’’

In 2007, pre-poll votes, excluding postal votes, were 8.2 per cent, rising to 22.7 per cent in 2016.

Adding postal ballots, the early voting figure for 2007 rose to 13 per cent, while in 2016 it was 31 per cent.