A record number of Australians have already voted in the Voice referendum as the campaign enters its final hours.

More than 5.4 million votes had been cast as of midday Friday at early voting centres around the country.

But for those who still need to have their say, the Australian Electoral Commission will have more than 7000 booths open from 8am to 6pm on Saturday.

The AEC has warned anyone who does not cast a vote will not only miss out on their opportunity but also risk being fined.

To sweeten the deal, the AEC says many booths will have a BBQ or cake stall running.

It’s also called on the some 2 million Australians who applied for a postal vote and have not yet returned it to do so as soon as possible.

Australians are heading to the polls to vote on whether to enshrine an Indigenous advisory body, the Voice, in the Constitution.

It is the first referendum to be held since 1999.

While the polls initially favoured the Yes campaign, polls published in the lead up to referendum date have indicated Australians are likely to vote No.

For the referendum to be successful, a majority of voters in a majority of states must vote Yes.

In his final appeal to voters, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said if Australia would “feel better” about itself if it voted Yes.

“We have an opportunity for Australians to do better. To do better to show respect for the First Australians, but to do something for ourselves as well,” he told reporters on the hustings in Adelaide.

But opposition leader Peter Dutton said he anticipated the vote would fail.

“The PM made a catastrophic mistake not providing the detail to Australians – he’s instinctively won their hearts because Australians do want better outcomes for Indigenous Australia, but he hasn’t won their minds,” Mr Dutton told ABC Radio.

The vote count will start as soon as polls close at 6pm on Saturday.


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By Rahul

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