Concerns raised over lack of pre-poll attendance at MidCoast voting sites

 

AS election day on 4 December approaches, concerns over the lack of pre-poll voting options have been raised.

Candidates which have been around the pre-poll sites state that Election Officials are concerned over queues on election day.

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“Election officials have warned that there are going to be horrendous queues at polling booths on election day with several suggesting that the wait time could be hours,” Claire Pontin, local MidCoast candidate said.

This year the Electoral Commission has opened up pre-poll voting booths for everyone, regardless of whether you have been eligible in the past, encouraging voters to head down to a number of sites before the day to avoid congestion.

At every polling booth, COVID marshals are limiting the number of people that can be inside at any given time as well as ensuring social distancing is maintained in queues.

“The numbers at pre-poll this week have been reported as very slow and I fear that many people may simply give up on large queues, walking away and not casting a vote,” Ms Pontin said.

Concerns have also been raised over the new rules which do not allow candidates or volunteers to hand out ‘how to vote cards’.

To make a valid vote in this year’s local government election you are able to vote in one of two ways.

Firstly, above the line voting.

Voters can place a number one in the square above the group of candidates for whom they want to vote for.

This means that a vote is cast for that group in the order that they are listed below.

Simply voting with a number one above the line is a valid vote but if you wish, you can then number the other above-the-line boxes consecutively from number two onwards.

The second option for voting is below the line.

Voters can use this option to vote for candidates within a specific group or to choose from a number of candidates in the ballot paper.

To make a valid vote this way, you must place the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the squares below the line which indicate your preferences for the candidates.

You can then choose to vote for additional candidates by placing consecutive numbers beginning with the number 5.

Pre Poll Sites for MidCoast include: Manning United Church, MidCoast Council Gloucester Council Chamber, MidCoast Returning Officer’s Office, Tuncurry Memorial Hall and Tea Gardens District Office.

 

By Tara CAMPBELL

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