Voting option for COVID-positive voters

Wednesday 23 November 2022

For immediate release

Voters who are COVID-positive and who miss the postal vote application deadline of 6 pm tonight, will still be able to vote via a COVIDSafe drive-through service.

‘We know that people want to vote but may not feel comfortable entering a voting centre. We need to provide at least one option, even if it’s not a very convenient one,’ said Acting Electoral Commissioner, Dana Fleming.

‘A drive-through voting centre will be available at 149 Barries Road, Melton West between 9 am and 5 pm tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday, and 8 am to 6 pm on Saturday.’

Prior to the withdrawal of the pandemic emergency declaration, people who were COVID-positive were eligible to vote by phone, after the VEC sought to have them included in eligibility requirements. However, eligibility for voting by phone became void with the removal of the emergency declaration, and isolation requirements.

‘In good conscience, we felt we had to offer at least one option for voters in this situation. We have an early voting centre located at a former Bunnings site in Melton West that we’ve turned into a drive-through centre,’ explained Ms Fleming. ‘There simply wasn’t enough time to find and lease any other premises that were large enough to cope.’

‘Voters must stay in their car and will need to show a positive RAT or a text from the Department of Health to confirm a positive PCR test result to be eligible to use the service, as there is a very real risk that we will be inundated by voters who just like the idea of drive-through voting.’

‘We have employed registered nurses in full personal protective equipment to be the intermediary between election staff and the voter to ensure everyone’s safety. It will take a little longer and I ask for voters who use the service to be as patient as possible.’

Ms Fleming acknowledged that the drive-through option wouldn’t be viable for those too unwell to attend or who were too far away from the location to take advantage of the drive-through.

‘Should any person who is COVID-positive not be able to vote on election day, we will certainly take that into consideration,’ Ms Fleming said.