Mobile polling stations give eligible prisoners chance to vote in person

  • QCS and AEC are working together to enable eligible prisoners to submit a paper ballot
  • Individuals who are fully remanded or serving less than three years are eligible to vote in state and federal elections.

Eligible Queensland prisoners can vote in person in the Voice referendum using mobile polling stations set up at correctional centres around the state.

In a collaboration between Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), mobile polling stations managed by qualified AEC staff are attending all 11 of Queensland’s high security correctional centres and six low custody facilities in the lead up to the referendum to process and collect ballots.

Following amendments in 2019 to the Electoral Act 1992, prisoners serving less than three years on their sentence, or who are fully remanded, are eligible to vote in state and federal elections if they are registered. About 6000 prisoners in Queensland are eligible under these conditions.

QCS Central and Northern Region Command Assistant Commissioner Eloise Hamlett ACM, said the mobile polling stations would help ensure all eligible prisoners participate in the referendum.

“We have a responsibility to facilitate a vote in the Voice referendum for all eligible prisoners, and these mobile polling stations will make the process much more efficient,” Assistant Commissioner Hamlett said.

“Making positive contributions to society, such as voting, is an important part of a prisoner’s rehabilitation journey and helps break the cycle of offending and reduce recidivism rates.”

Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre Acting General Manager Roberta Embrey ACM said the opportunity to vote was a hot topic among the prison population.

“The women are feeling empowered by the opportunity to participate in the referendum and there are some who are voting for the first time which highlights how worthwhile this initiative has been,” Acting Chief Superintendent Embrey said.

QCS First Nations and Cultural Capability Chief Superintendent Wendy Ah Chin said the agency was committed to prisoner rehabilitation and maintaining connections to community.

“This is an important vote for our country and an opportunity for all voices to be heard, including eligible prisoners,” Chief Superintendent Ah Chin said.

“We thank the AEC for helping us increase access for eligible voters which has been reflected in the encouraging turnout.”

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