Vote early, vote often!

I suspect you’ve heard the phrase, “vote early, vote often”.

Well, from today you get your chance on at least the first part of that statement, with early voting centres across the country throwing their doors open for the first day of voting in the Federal Election.

It sounds great: most of us would rather vote on a day and at a time that suits us. After all, with election day being a Saturday it’s often easier to slip away from work for half an hour during the week, than it is to find the time between brunch and kids’ sport on election Saturday.

And the numbers we’ve seen in two recent state elections suggest that early voting is quickly becoming our preference. In the recent NSW State election more than 1 million votes were cast prior to election day. In the Victorian State election last year around 1.4 million of us got it out of the way early.

But there is also a significant issue here that requires reform, if the early voting trend is going to continue. The issue is that voters are making their decision before all the policies and their related costings are released by the political parties.

This effectively means many of us are voting blind. Alternatively it indicates many of use simply don’t care.

Of course, the inevitable outcome here is that sooner or later, voting will switch to online, will be open for a stipulated period of time, and will require some sort of login (probably via MyGov) to vote.

In my view, by the time we reach this point, there also need to be some rules put in place to ensure the parties have released all of their costings before voting opens, so that we are armed with all the financial information before we cast our vote.

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