‘Respect your vote'

DESPITE the urging of ex-Labor leader Mark Latham, Australian voters are being urged to take the time to fill their ballot papers in correctly, to ensure their vote counts in the 2010 Federal election.

Mr Latham urged viewers of Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program to lodge a blank ballot paper to match the “blank” policies of the major parties, but the Australian Electoral Commission has kept ploughing on with its job of urging people to vote correctly, and mean it.

Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn said people will be voting in both a House of Representatives election and a Senate election on Saturday and will be given two ballot papers at the polling place.

“I urge voters to pay careful attention when filling in each ballot paper and instructions are on the top of each ballot paper. If you do however make a mistake, please ask a polling official for another ballot paper to start again,” he said.

On the green House of Representatives ballot paper, voters must number every box in the order of their preference, until they have numbered all the boxes. Do not use ticks, crosses, repeat any number or leave boxes blank on this ballot paper.

On the white Senate ballot paper, voters have the choice to either mark one box above the line with a ‘1' for the party or group of their choice, or number every box below the line for each candidate in order of preference.

“Who voters choose to vote for is their decision and voters may or may not decide to follow the how-to-vote cards that candidate representatives give them outside the polling place.

“Polling places will be open from 8am until 6pm on election day and voters can find their local polling place using the polling place locator, or by calling 13 23 26. A list of polling places with disabled access is also available.

“On election day, polling officials and translated information will be available to assist electors at all polling places and at some locations polling officials who speak another language will be available and will be wearing a special badge identifying which language it is that they speak.”

Mr Killesteyn said that the AEC was also running a national advertising campaign on television, in newspapers and online to encourage voters to take care when voting.

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