Wednesday 23 November 2022
For immediate release
Acting Electoral Commissioner, Dana Fleming, made a legal determination yesterday to ensure a safe and secure voting experience at all voting locations.
‘With more Victorians voting early than ever before, I am pleased to see most voters reporting a positive experience when they are going to vote. Sadly, this is not the case for all voters as a small number of campaigners are consistently behaving poorly,’ Ms Fleming said.
The Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC’s) duty is to provide an accessible service for voters, which includes making sure they are not subject to aggression, intimidation and other unwelcome or threatening behaviour when they vote.
‘Today’s determination acknowledges the lawful powers of election managers and election officials to respond when behaviour doesn’t meet expectations. The actions of the few campaigners outside a small number of voting centres have prompted the need to consider an appropriate solution.’
The first early voting centre to be subject to an increased compliance approach is located at Watergardens Town Centre in Sydenham District.
‘The Watergardens early voting centre is a convenient location for voters within Sydenham District. Due to repeated issues by those campaigning outside, we will limit the number of campaigners permitted for each candidate or party listed on the ballot paper for the District,’ Ms Fleming explained.
‘The need to take this action is disappointing, but unfortunately necessary. The safety of voters and our election staff is our priority.’
The Electoral Act includes several offences for unacceptable behaviour in, and around, voting centres. Election managers and election officials can also request police assistance to remove a person who is disrupting the election process or obstructing access for voters.
The decision to limit the number of campaigners at the Watergardens early voting centre has been shared with all parties and candidates listed on the Sydenham ballot paper; it is also posted on the window of the early voting centre.
You can read the determination Campaigning at voting centres.