‘Extraordinary’ rush of last-minute voters for Australia same-sex marriage vote

A record number of Australians have signed up to vote in the upcoming plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

The Australian electoral commission revealed today that 90,000 new voters had registered to vote following the 8 August announcement of the plebiscite details.

Many of these are young people, which is prompting campaigners for same-sex marriage to be optimistic.

Support for same-sex marriage is higher among those under the age of 40.

In addition to this, a further 675,000 have updated their electoral details, and 165,000 transactions remained to be processed. A spokesperson for the electoral commission described the statistics as ‘extraordinary.’

It’s estimated that around 35,000 people registered to vote in the final 48 hours before the 24 August deadline.

‘Record-high’

Australia is one of the few countries in the world where citizens are legally obliged to vote in general elections. This partly explains why around 95.3 % of eligible voters were registered with the commission at the end of July.

The numbers dip slightly between elections, but the upcoming plebiscite has prompted a boost.

Although people are not legally obliged to take part in the upcoming plebiscite, Electoral Commissioner Tim Rogers said he expected the number of registered voters to hit a ‘record-high’ once all transactions had been processed.

Around 16million people are now registered to vote – a figure welcomed by the Equality Campaign, which is pushing for a ‘yes’ vote.

‘This amazing result is a tribute to the thousands of people around the country that have made this happen,’ said the campaign’s Executive Director, Tiernan Brady.

‘It’s also a reflection of the amount of energy that will be required if our LGBTI friends and family members are to win the same dignity and status as other Australians.

‘We are not complacent about this at all. This maybe one of the most successful enrolment campaigns but if we are to achieve equality, supporters need to ensure they vote ‘Yes’ and post their ballots back.

‘People know this campaign is about their friends and family and that’s why we’ve seen this record number of people enrolling to have their opinions heard.’

The postal vote will run from 12 September to mid-October….

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