Australia uses televoting for people isolated from COVID-19

The Australian Election Commission has expanded telephone voting due to concerns that thousands of people infected with COVID-19 will not be able to vote in the elections.

The change took place after the AEC had an urgent consultation with the federal government on Friday morning prior to Saturday’s poll.

The problem was AEC’s voting rules for people who tested positive for the virus between Saturday and Tuesday last Saturday at 6 pm, and only mail voting was expected to be allowed.

However, many did not meet the deadline for ballot ballot applications, which was closed at 6 pm on Wednesday, and had no way to throw ballots.

Previously, televoting was only available to those who tested positive after 6 pm on Tuesday.

Anyone who tests positive after 6 pm last Friday (May 13) will now have access to the phone vote.

“This issue is currently being resolved,” AEC Commissioner Tom Rogers told ABC Radio.

Rogers also urged people who had already registered for a televoting on Wednesday and hadn’t voted yet on Friday.

“Don’t leave it until tomorrow,” he said.

“Voting by phone is literally someone reading the ballot to you … it takes time with a large number of candidates.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the change, saying the government had agreed to Rogers’ recommendations.

“He has been working on all that logistics, what that means in their call centers, and all sorts of them,” Morrison told Perth Radio 6PR.

“We have made it very clear that we will accept all the recommendations made earlier, and finally this morning those recommendations have been made earlier.”

Melbourne’s independent election candidates threatened to take the federal government to court to allow those excluded by the postal deadline to vote on the phone instead.

Tyr candidate Monique Ryan, who runs at Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg’s seat, said he was relieved that the government had agreed to change the regulations.

“We are very relieved that the Prime Minister has been forced to change this law,” she posted on Twitter on Friday.

Between Saturday and Tuesday, more than 200,000 Australians are believed to have been tested positive for COVID-19.



Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.