How the AEC is adapting Eden-Monaro for Covid

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The AEC has published its plan for how it will adapt the Eden-Monaro by-election to account for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the stuff will be familiar to anyone who has visited any public place in recent months. Social distancing rules will be applied at polling places and the ballot draw, and hand sanitiser will be available when you turn up to vote. There will be limits on how many people can be inside each booth which will likely extend lines for voting.

The AEC will only receive nominations by appointment (no more just rocking up to the office) and voters will be provided with single-use pencils when they vote (although bringing your own writing implement is encouraged).

The AEC will not conduct mobile polling at nursing homes, instead encouraging those inside to use postal voting.

The AEC has clarified that they do not have jurisdiction over campaigning outside six metres of the entrance to the polling place, and thus have not tried to impose any rules limiting the handing out of how-to-vote cards, although they put the onus on candidates and parties to abide by whatever NSW Health rules are in place at the time of the by-election. They have agreed to post a website link for each candidate as part of the candidate information on the AEC website, but they have not gone further as some have suggested by providing how-to-vote information in other ways.

Finally, they anticipate a big increase in postal and pre-poll voting. There was some chatter about possibly allowing pre-poll votes to be counted before 6pm on election night to speed up the publication of results (it’s worth reading Antony Green’s blog post on this topic), but this won’t be happening.

So you should expect a significant delay in results on election night, and if it is close we likely will need to wait a few days for pre-poll votes to be counted to get a better sense. A very close result may take weeks as postal votes can arrive up to 13 days after election day.

Finally, I recommend checking out Michael Maley’s paper for the Electoral Regulation Research Network about how electoral management will be affected by Covid-19. I haven’t had a chance to finish it but I’m looking forward to it.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Leaving me off the Candidate list *AGAIN* Ben.. why do you do this every bloody election?

    Its not right and you know it.
    I will call you out for it..

    You cant say you dont know about me, or that I;’m running.. I’m on the Wikipedia page, in media, big Social media following and content.. I say it is deliberate. and annoying.

  2. You can believe me or not, Andrew, but I assure you I don’t have anything against you. I am not constantly searching for candidate names to add to my list. I make an update every now and then and then I go back to my many other projects. I have just checked Wikipedia and there are three candidates who have appeared since my last update. I will update shortly and include you.

  3. I have said numerous times that it is the job of the candidate to tell me they are running, and I make no promises to the completeness of a list until nominations close. You don’t bother to post anywhere telling me you are running and then complain about your absence from the list. I can promise you this will keep happening.

  4. Well said Ben.
    My only complaint is that there is a lack of a direct e-mail address to communicate this info to.
    When I was running campaign for one of minor parties I encouraged candidates to forward you details of what you were doing . Candidates are very busy during election but biggest problem is a refusal to delegate tasks and responsibilities. The fact that Andrew Thaler is contacting you himself is a symptom of poor campaign masgement.

  5. Any word on how Australia Post will be handling delivery timetables in the electorate? It’s not remote Australia, so you would hope 13 days would be enough, but Australia Post aren’t the most competant business at the best of times, and with their reduced Covid timetables, and their failures at recent elections… they could maybe do with a few questions coming their way in advance?

  6. You would think that Andrew Thaler would have organised someone to comment on what he has been doing if he was a serious candidate.
    Considering that my last comment was a week ago and no one else has commented it must be a very boring election or the candidates are extremely inactive.

  7. Looks like my last comment was more perceptive than I intended it to be.AEC have left Andrew Thaler off their list of candidates as well.
    Do Ben and I have a glass ball?

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