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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Pre-polling encouraged in upcoming ACT election

The ACT Electoral Commission will be encouraging pre-polling in the upcoming 2020 ACT Legislative Assembly election, following an announcement on the extension of the ACT Public Health Emergency.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith announced on Thursday (20 August), the ACT Public Health Emergency would be extended until 19 November, following a second wave of cases in Victoria and NSW.

Electoral Commissioner, Damian Cantwell AM, said while the extension wouldn’t impact on planning, they would be focusing on COVID-safe guidelines to carry out the event.

“It is not anticipated that the extension of the ACT Public Health Emergency will have any impact on the planning for or the conduct of the 2020 ACT Legislative Assembly election,” he said.

“The ACT Electoral Commission continues to be informed by ongoing advice from the ACT Chief Health Officer in the delivery of the election, which will be conducted under COVID-safe provisions throughout the voting period from 28 September to 17 October.”

Safety measures include strict hygiene methods, electronic voting terminal disinfection after each use, and single-use pencils.

The Elections ACT website will also include information on numbers of voters at various polling locations to assist in making a decision on the safest time to visit.

Mr Cantwell said pre-polling would be encouraged from 28 September.

“The ACT Electoral Commission is encouraging all voters to vote early in the period 28 September to 16 October 2020 to further enhance their COVID safety and that of the electoral staff, political stakeholders and the broader community,” he said.

“Eighty-two polling places will be available on the final day of voting, 17 October.”

There will be 15 early voting centres available in the ACT from 28 September for pre-polling, open weekdays and weekends.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the 90-day extension of the Public Health Emergency would ensure the Chief Health Officer to continue acting against COVID-19 in the ACT.

As at Friday 21 August, the ACT hasn’t recorded a new case of the virus in more than five weeks.

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