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4.5 MILLION Australians have already voted

Image: Alamy

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The Australian Electoral Commission has revealed 4.5 million Australians have already voted in the federal election, four days out from the actual polling day.

"As of [close of business] Tuesday approximately 3 million people had cast their vote at an early voting centre for the 2019 federal election," the commission tweeted.

Just on Tuesday alone 400,000 people had pre-voted.

The 3 million mark compares to just 1.82 million at the same stage during the 2016 election period.

To add to this, 1.5 million people have sent in postal votes – meaning 4.5 million Australians, or 27 per cent of all voters, will miss their chance of enjoying a sausage sizzle.

And that number will grow even further as Saturday draws closer.

The huge increase in voters wanting to cast early ballots has led to calls for a tightening of rules on how easily citizens are allowed to do this, as it distorts the definition of an election as a point-in-time poll of the public mood.

There are also fears those who vote early would miss out on crucial information revealed later in the campaigns.

"If people have already voted, they can't take their vote back," Professor Rodney Smith from the University of Sydney told the ABC last month.

"If you release a policy that's unpopular later, that's going to affect fewer voters."

The early voting trend also forces political parties to campaign earlier and longer, which ironically may also be a reason why so many people choose to pre-vote.

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