26 September 2023

Voters advised to plan their voting

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Australian voters have been reminded by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to plan their vote according to their circumstances with the two-week early voting period opening yesterday (9 May).

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said that like every other frontline industry and service, the delivery of the election was being affected by COVID-19 and, despite all of the AEC’s planning and best efforts, its frontline services could be impacted at short notice.

“Australian elections are in-person events – once every three years the country comes together in a transparent and secure environment to have their say,” Mr Rogers said.

“If you can vote on Election Day then that’s what you should do,” he said.

“However, if your circumstances might prevent you from doing that then you need to think about the early voting options available, and vote according to your circumstances.”

Mr Rogers said the AEC was engaging and training more staff than ever before to deliver an election in challenging circumstances, which included COVID safety measures and labour market shortages.

The Commissioner said approximately 550 early voting centres were in operation across the country during the two-week early voting period and many people who’d applied for a postal vote were already receiving their ballot papers in the mail.

“Even with the challenges of a pandemic, Australians should be immensely proud of our electoral system and their ability to access services to cast their vote,” he said.

“There will be plenty of voting options available throughout the two week early voting period for people who can’t make it on Election Day.”

Mr Rogers said that in some regional centres where the AEC was competing for short term staff against other industries like mining, “we are doing our best to staff our services and to manage the impact of COVID.”

“We expect, and have planned for, the furloughing of staff but with the scale and complexity of the election in a pandemic across Australia’s vast geography, some venues could be impacted at short notice,” he said.

Mr Rogers asked all Australians to be patient.

“We have all learned to adjust our service expectations throughout COVID,” he said.

“There will be some queues which is why everyone needs to plan their vote.”

Further information on early voting centres can be accessed at this PS News link.

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