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Election CHAOS as officials scramble to let 200,000 Aussies with Covid vote

Election CHAOS as officials scramble to let 200,000 Aussies with Covid vote 2

Election CHAOS as officials scramble to let 200,000 Aussies with Covid vote after planning to lock them out for catching the virus

  • It was feared that 200,000 Covid positive people would be unable to vote 
  • This is because they were not allowed to vote by phone or postal ballot 
  • But officials have now asked the government to expand phone voting 

Anyone who has caught Covid since Friday May 13 will be able to vote by phone after last-minute rule changes to prevent people being unable to vote.

Officials asked the government to change voting regulations after it emerged 200,000 Covid positive people would be isolating and unable to cast a ballot. 

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers this morning signed a brief to government recommending that eligibility for the telephone voting service for people who have tested positive to Covid-19 be expanded.

Scott Morrison said he will ‘act on’ any recommendation and the government later announced the change.

The issue surrounds voting rules for people who tested positive to the virus since last Saturday.

Phone voting is available to people who tested positive after 6pm on Tuesday, but anyone who tested positive between Saturday and Tuesday must vote by post.

Fines for coronavirus sufferers unable to cast their vote will not be issued, advised the AEC

Fines for coronavirus sufferers unable to cast their vote will not be issued, advised the AEC

However, postal vote applications closed at 6pm on Wednesday, leaving many voters without an avenue to cast their ballot.

A Melbourne independent candidate for the election is threatening to take the federal government to court in a bid to ensure people excluded by the postal deadline can instead vote by phone.

Teal contender Monique Ryan, who is running in Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s seat of Kooyong, wants to pursue a case against Special Minister of State Ben Morton in the Federal Court on Friday.

Dr Ryan fears a ‘great many’ people will not be able to vote under the AEC rules for the May 21 poll ‘because the government has not made phone voting available to them’.

There is a voting-by-phone option but that was only permitted for those who tested positive after last Tuesday at 6pm

There is a voting-by-phone option but that was only permitted for those who tested positive after last Tuesday at 6pm

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday it was a matter for the AEC commissioner to work within the legislation agreed to by the parliament.

‘This morning he is looking at these issues very closely and we have certainly asked him to do that,’ he told ABC television.

‘Any recommendation that the electoral commission provides to us we will certainly act on, whether that means changing regulations or anything of that nature.

‘We will take his advice. It is not something for politicians to interfere in.’

An AEC spokesman told Sydney radio 2GB the commissioner will ‘have discussions’ about it on Friday morning.

‘It’s up to the electoral commissioner to have a discussion with government,’ he said.

‘It’s actually up to government to change the regulations, we can’t do that.

‘Ultimately, if it ends up in a change of regulation, that’s what we’ll deliver. We can only deliver on the regulation.’

It is believed more than 200,000 Australians tested positive for COVID-19 between Saturday and Tuesday.

Voters who have tested positive since the Tuesday deadline for phone voting are eligible to vote online or via phone number 1800 913 993

Voters who have tested positive since the Tuesday deadline for phone voting are eligible to vote online or via phone number 1800 913 993

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