Rachael votes as a silent voter in the 2022 federal election. Here’s what that means

In this federal election, many Australians will be voting as silent voters, and Rachael* is one of them.

The mother from Melbourne registered as a silent voter in June 2021.

Little did she know that her address could be withheld from the publicly available voter list until someone on her domestic violence course mentioned it.

“I received a family violence intervention order against my ex in May 2019, and it became final and only recently expired in November 2021,” explains Rachael.

“My ex still drives by my house every opportunity he gets.

“My husband has also applied for the suppression, because my ex knows his name too.”

Rachael said the process to register online was easy and the instructions from the Australian Election Commission were quite clear.

In the polls on May 21, she will have to be checked by officials in a separate process, though next time she says she will apply to vote by mail only.

“When it comes to voting, I don’t like having multiple people pushing pamphlets on you to try and score your vote when you go to a center, it can be overwhelming,” she said.

“It is important for me to vote and I normally look at candidates’ priorities and policies before casting my vote, even in the city council.”

But Rachael said it was important for people to know that they can be silent voters and vote in a way that protects their well-being.

“It’s not something you can just avoid [changing] or because it is mandatory for all Australian citizens aged 18 and over to vote in federal elections.”

Another woman the ABC spoke to, who did not want her name published, said she was not aware of silent voting.

“I definitely would have used it sooner if I had known.

“I feel like I want my voice to count and contribute safely.”

Who is eligible to be a silent voter and how does it work?

You can register with the AEC as a silent voter if including your address on the public electoral roll would jeopardize your or your family’s safety.

If other family members who share your name are registered at your address, the AEC strongly recommends that they also become silent voters.

With the application, the AEC asks for a legal statement explaining the risk to you or your family.

That application is then processed by the AEC and it ultimately decides whether the silent status is granted.

The AEC says that your occupation, having a silent phone number or not wanting to receive junk mail are not valid reasons for granting silent dialer status.

Can I change my details now?

Person holding a computer tablet on the Australian Election Commission e-Voting website in July 2016.
The deadline for registering to vote has passed.ABC news

Unfortunately not.

The federal electoral roll closed on April 18, 2022, so the details listed on that date are the electoral roll details of this election.

But you can still register or update your information for future federal, state and local government elections.

*Name has been changed for legal reasons.

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