Australians have been warned they could face a fine if they refuse to take part in the upcoming Voice referendum.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Wednesday that the referendum would take place on October 14.
Australia’s last referendum was held 24 years ago in 1999 to decide whether the country should become a republic.
Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers pointed out that 6.4 million registered Australians are underage – meaning this will be the first referendum for many.
Several questions have been raised about how the referendum will work, what Australians must do on the day and what will happen if they don’t vote.
Daily Mail Australia has compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions ahead of the referendum on October 14.
About 6.4 million Australians will vote on October 24 in their first referendum on whether Australia should include an Indigenous voice in Parliament
How do I vote?
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) states: “The formal voting instructions for the referendum are to state clearly and completely in English either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.”
Other markings that show the voter’s intent is clear, such as a checkmark or cross, are counted but can be challenged later.
Voters will vote “yes” or “no” to the question: “A proposed law: amending the constitution to recognize the indigenous peoples of Australia by creating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice.” Do you agree with this proposed amendment ?’
There is only one question on the ballot.
Who has to vote?
All Australian citizens over the age of 18 who have registered to vote must vote in the referendum.
Polling stations are available on the day of the referendum and are typically available at local schools, churches, community centers and public buildings.
Those who do not have access to polling stations can choose to vote by mail, early voting and mobile voting.
Voters will be asked to answer “yes” or “no” to the question on the ballot paper in English
What happens if I don’t vote?
If you fail to vote without a reasonable excuse, the Australian Electoral Commission will fine you.
Citizens who did not vote in last year’s federal election without good reason received a $20 fine.
Failure to pay can result in fines exceeding $200 in addition to court fees.
What do I bring with me to my polling station?
Voters just need to bring themselves. They will receive a ballot paper, a pencil and instructions on how to vote at the polling station.
When voters arrive at the polling station, they are asked three questions.
- What is your full name?
- Where do you live?
- Have you ever taken part in this referendum?
Once the questions are answered, the voter is removed from the electoral roll.
More than 50 percent of voters and 50 percent of states must vote “yes” for the proposed law to pass
How many people have to vote “yes” for the referendum to pass?
Australian referendums require a “double majority”.
That means more than 50 percent of voters and 50 percent of states must vote “yes” for the proposed law to pass.
For example, if 60 percent of citizens in Australia and the majority of residents in at least four states voted yes, it would pass the double majority test.
The latest poll figures show the voice of Parliament is on track to be defeated.
In a recent poll, Victoria was the only state to support a yes vote.
Nationwide, the No side is ahead with 47 percent, the Yes side with 43 percent, while 10 percent of people have not yet decided.
Can I change the wording of the question on the ballot?
Voters who change the referendum question by adding or deleting words risk having their vote devalued.
‘[Changing the wording] will likely only result in the confusion of that voter’s intent on the actual question,” the AEC explains.
“This would likely result in an informal vote.”