THE Victorian election is on Saturday, November 26, but this election may have challenges for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19? How do you cast your vote if you’ve missed the postal voting deadline?
The Victorian Electoral Commission are offering a COVIDSafe drive-through service in Melton West for people who aren’t comfortable entering a voting centre if they have COVID-19.
Acting Electoral Commissioner, Dana Fleming said that a drive-through voting centre will be available at 149 Barries Road, Melton West between 9am and 5pm on Friday, and 8am to 6pm 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. There simply wasn’t enough time to find and lease any other premises that were large enough to cope,’ Ms Fleming said.
“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.
Melton West is 170km from Alexandra.