This Saturday is by-election day for voters in the federal electoral division of Eden-Monaro.
The Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales, Warwick Austin, said the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures meant it may be a different by-election day experience this Saturday.
“Due to the range of required COVID-19 safety measures we’ve implemented, we are asking you to be patient as it may take a little longer to get into the polling place and to cast your vote,” Mr Austin said.
“Depending on how close the results are, it may also take longer to determine who is elected.”
Polling places will be open on Saturday between 8am and 6pm. COVID-19 safety measures being implemented include the availability of hand sanitiser, venue capacity limits, social distancing guidance, as well as regular cleaning of voting screens.
The AEC is also encouraging people to bring their own pen or pencil to mark their ballot paper. However, there will be single-use pencils available for people not able to.
COVID-19 safety measures will also be implemented during the count – on by-election night and in the days afterwards. These measures will mean the counting of votes will take longer.
The significant increase in postal and pre-poll votes cast will also affect the speed of the count, noting the legislative requirement to wait 13 days after by-election day for the return of postal votes.