Minister Must Ensure Local Government Elections are Safe and Accessible

Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, has again called on the Minister

for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, to urgently outline plans for voting at the

upcoming local government elections, due to be held on September 4.

The Minister recently said anyone who ‘reasonably believes attending a polling place on

election day will pose a risk to the health of safety of a person or another person’ would

be able to vote via post.

The Minister also confirmed iVote will be rolled out for the first time during a local

government election for vulnerable voters and those with disabilities.

However, Mr Warren said given the current concerns with COVID-19, all voters

regardless of reasoning or location, should have access to alternative means of voting.

“People shouldn’t be pressured about their reasons for wanting to cast a vote via

alternative means,” Mr Warren said.

“Fear levels should not be used a means test to decide whether you are eligible for

postal or online voting.”

Mr Warren also called on the Minister to guarantee the iVote system would not

compromised and ensure the integrity of the process given previous concerns with the

system.

“There has been plenty of time for this government to develop and test measures to

ensure local government elections can go off without a hitch in September,” he said.

Mr Warren urged the Minister to consider further alternatives to ensure voters could

safely cast their vote at the ballot box, including: extending the number of days prepolling

was open and exploring a ‘book in advance method’.

“Opening polling booths for longer or allowing people to register a time to vote in

advance could ensure people are able to cast their vote at a ballot box while limiting the

number of people gathering at polling booths at the one time,” he said.

“There may be an extra cost involved but surely this government now knows it can’t put

a price on the health and wellbeing of NSW residents.

“The Minister has less than eight weeks to develop alternatives to make sure local

government elections can proceed as planned and safely.”

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