Saturday’s referendum day will mark the close of a long-winded chapter of polarised debate over Indigenous rights in Australia.
Despite much of the conversation over the Indigenous Voice to Parliament being dominated by politicians and campaigners, the final call is in the hands of the public.
Here’s what you need to know before October 14.
Where do I vote?
More than 7000 polling booths will open between 8am and 6pm on Saturday. Similar to an election, voting places will be held in schools, churches, community centres, and town halls across the country.
People can locate their nearest polling booth on the Australian Electoral Commission website.
More than 7000 polling booths will open between 8am and 6pm on Saturday as millions of Australians are still to case their ballots
NSW Premier Chris Minns and Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney cast their vote at the polling booth in Carlton South Public School, Sydney
How do I vote?
Voters are asked to write clearly in English either Yes or No on their ballot papers to the following question:
A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?
This would include a new chapter in the Constitution, which would read as:
129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
(i) there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
(ii) the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
(iii) the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.
Independent senator Lidia Thorpe casts her ballot in the Voice referendum at Reservoir in Melbourne
Senator Lidia Thorpe walks post a Yes campaigner as she arrives to vote at Reservoir in Melbourne
Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney pictured at the polling booth in Carlton South Public School, Sydney
Voters buy democracy sausages outside the voting centre at Old Parliament House in Canberra
People have been instructed to not use ticks or crosses to indicate their response. This rule has been in place over the past 30 years for six referendums.
According to the AEC, only 0.86 per cent of votes were counted as informal during the 1999 referendum.
Can I vote early?
Early voting officially closes at 6pm on Friday, October 13.
People can find early polling spots by using the AEC’s “Where Can I Vote?” tool on their website.
What if I don’t vote?
Voting is compulsory in Australia. Failure to vote as an eligible citizen aged 18 years and over will lead to a $20 fine.
Who won’t vote?
Incarcerated people serving sentences of more than three years are ineligible to vote in federal elections or referendums. Given the high representation of Aboriginal people in prisons, roughly 40,000 First Nations people won’t vote.
People waiting to become an Australian citizen will also not cast ballots on Saturday. There were about 100,000 citizenship applications as of May 30, according to the Home Affairs department.
People wait vote Voting in the referendum at an East Melbourne voting booth
David Littleproud, leader of the federal National Party attends a voting centre in Brisbane
A voter is seen inside the voting centre at Old Parliament House in Canberra
When will we know?
Counting will kick off at 6pm on October 14.
The AEC will begin releasing rolling results once polling booths close. A virtual tally room will automatically update every 90 seconds to provide electorate-by-electorate results.
A result will most likely not be confirmed on the night given a record number of postal votes; however, it’s possible that the final answer will be made clear if it’s not a close race.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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