Federal Election Voting: What Happens if You Have COVID on Election Day?

Federal Election Voting: What Happens if You Have COVID on Election Day?
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Australia’s next Federal Election is set for Saturday, May 21, and that means we’re about to embark on another whirlwind few weeks of political marketing campaigns and democracy sausages. When it comes to the all-important voting day there are a few different options for polling at this year’s federal election, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.

How to vote safely if you have COVID-19 on election day

COVID-19 is still racking up the numbers and community transmission is at a high. It likely will continue this way for the months ahead, including during the election.

If you do happen to catch the spicy cough and can’t attend a polling booth in-person on election day, there are still a few ways you can participate in the voting process.

What are your voting options?

Should COVID-19 have you stuck in bed on voting day, or you’re forced to self-isolate, some recent legislative changes have been made for this situation.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), Aussies will have telephone voting as an option for those forced to quarantine on the day of the Federal Election, May 21.

Postal votes are of course an option as well but the AEC confirmed to Lifehacker Australia that secure telephone voting will be an emergency measure for those who don’t have another option on the day.

You will need to call to register yourself for telephone voting (either in the days preceding the election or between 9 am – 12 pm on Saturday, May 21). From there you will get a registration number and can call 1800 913 993 to cast your vote.

On election day you’ll have until 6 pm to cast a telephone vote.

Voting online in the Australian Federal Election

Voting online is not yet an option available to Australians in the Federal Election.

While some local Australian elections have made use of online voting systems for those in need of assistance, this hasn’t been announced as an option for the 2022 Federal Election as yet.

Mobile voting is available for those who are unable to make it to a polling centre, such as those in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and remote areas. A list of the locations that AEC members will be visiting for mobile voting will be made available closer to the election date, May 21.

Early voting in the Australian Federal Election

As per usual, if you’re going to be busy, travelling or can’t make it to a polling centre on the day of the Federal Election, May 21, early voting is an option.

If you’re worried about catching COVID-19 in the lead up to the election day, it is also a viable proactive option to vote while you’re not required to isolate.

Pre-polling centres will be set up in the lead up to the Federal Election. A list of locations will be posted closer to May 21.

Postal voting in the Australian Federal Election

Postal voting is another popular option for those who can’t make it to a polling centre.

Voters will need to apply for a postal vote ahead of the election and then the ballot papers will be sent to your mailing address. Applications can be completed online via the AEC website or by completing a postal vote application form from AEC officers.

Voting in-person on Election Day

Voting on election day is, of course, another option for casting your vote.

On election day, a number of polling locations will be set up at locations such as churches, schools, community halls and public buildings. A full list of locations will be posted soon, now that the election is set for May 21.

If you’re travelling interstate on election day you’ll be able to vote at an interstate voting centre.

There are some advantages to in-person voting such as the famous democracy sausage, so don’t despair if you forget to vote ahead of time!

In order to participate in voting for the Australian Federal Election this year — which is compulsory for anyone over the age of 18 — you’ll want to make sure you’ve enrolled ahead of time which you can do on the AEC website.

We’ll have more information about how to cast a vote at the federal election in 2022 as May 21 approaches.

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