More than 41,000 Canberrans have already cast their vote in the federal election at pre-poll stations, seeking to avoid congested school halls and churches on Saturday.
The number is steady compared to the early vote tally during the same period of the 2013 election campaign, meaning ACT residents can expect delays as they line up on July 2.
But the ACT is something of an anomaly. Nationally, the number of early voters has increased by 44 percent since 2013 with 2.15 million votes cast compared to 1.49 million.
The Australian Electoral Commission expect up to a third of voters could avoid polling places on July 2, but early voters will be asked which eligibility criteria they meet in order to vote early.
The criteria includes those travelling or working on election day, those sick or hospitalised, inmates serving less than three years, or voters who have religious beliefs preventing them from voting at certain places.
The rules around early voting have been loosened since the 2007 federal election in a bid to improve flexibility for voters. Many are able to simply claim they cannot vote on the day, rather than provide specific reasons.
ANU political scientist John Warhurst was one of many who voted early at Pilgrim House on Northbourne Avenue and believes a new trend has emerging.
"I voted close to ten days ago and it was a very cold day, but about half-a-dozen volunteers were there with how-to-vote cards and there was a constant stream of voters," he said.
Professor Warhurst said the long campaign may have encouraged many voters to head to the polls early to save time or get it out of the way.
"This campaign has been on people's minds for some time now and once pre-polls opened, many people may have felt ready to vote," he said.
The July 2 vote also falls at the beginning of school holidays in the ACT, with many families expected to escape mid-winter conditions for warmer destinations.
Professor Warhurst said media coverage of early voting habits and efforts to improve flexibility for voters had made pre-polling "the new normal".
At the 2013 federal election, 26 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot at early polling locations - more than double the number of early voters 10 years earlier.
Postal vote applications also grew by 38 per cent to more than 1.3 million, effectively doubling since 2004.
"Many people used to think postal voting was the only option and that you had to have an iron clad reason to go to a pre-polling station," Professor Warhurst said.
"This may also make things harder for some of the independents and smaller parties, who now need to have people giving out how-to-vote cards at polling stations for a longer period of time."
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