Early vote options popular

Despite fears of a low turnout, more people are taking advantage of early voting options in the re-run WA Senate election than last year.

Australian Electoral Commission figures show almost 185,000 voters - one in eight of those enrolled - had cast their ballot as of Wednesday night. The increase is attributed to a surge in postal vote applications.

The AEC has received 129,635 applications, with 84,969 voters already completing their ballot paper and mailing it back.

The trend suggests the number of postal votes will pass last year's Federal election tally when 112,000 applications were processed and 94,167 eventually returned. Voters need to mail their postal vote by today for it to be valid.

Pre-polls are roughly in line with last year's tally, with 99,834 voting at a pre-poll booth as of Wednesday, compared with 101,504 two days out from polling day last year.

The total number of pre-poll votes cast last year was 148,237.

Labor's WA secretary Simon Mead said more voters were using early voting options at each election.

"Everyone who does it finds it more convenient," he said.

Political strategists worry turnout could be as low as 70 per cent because of voter apathy, despite voting being compulsory and the AEC able to fine those who do not vote.

The West Australian

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