Australia

'Paperless option' confirmed for same-sex marriage postal plebiscite

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has confirmed it will provide a 'paperless method' for specific groups of people to cast their vote in the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

Australians who are based overseas or who cannot get material by post; those who are blind or with low vision or other disability; and those who are aged care residents may be given the option to vote via the paperless method, but this is in limited circumstances.

Voters who are eligible will be able to request a secure access code which will then allow them to indicate their response to the plebiscite.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said: “Whilst it is expected that nearly all eligible people in Australia will be able to participate using the postal service, the ABS will implement a number of strategies to ensure all eligible Australians have the opportunity to respond to the survey.”

The ABS is organising a National Relay Service to assist those who are deaf or who have a hearing/speech impairment.

Anyone who needs assistance - including those who are based overseas - can authorise someone they trust to help them or to complete the form on their behalf.

Those with no – or a minimum – knowledge of English will be provided with a Translation and Interpreter Service (TIS), with additional instructions on the back of the form in 15 languages. The ABS says the language of the plebiscite is deliberately "simple" to ensure easier comprehension.

The Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey will ask: ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’ The voting form will be posted to each recipient as soon as possible from the week of 12 September.

Voters are expected to respond by 6pm on October 27.

If you are collecting or returning a form to ABS, they will note the locations where you can do so, including in some regional and remote areas.