Voters in iso no longer left hangin’ on the telephone

ABOVE: Blondie is hanging on the phone but it isn’t for the Australian Electoral Commission. Photo: Contributed

Michael Burlace 

Yes you can vote by phone if you have been in covid isolation any time since last Friday, May 13.

That seems to be the new deal after Monique Ryan, the teal independent candidate in Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s seat of Kooyong in Melbourne put the government in an embarrassing position.

Dr Ryan was taking the Electoral Commission to court to free up access for more than 100,000 voters across the country after achieving no success with the Coalition’s special minister of state Ben Morton, who is responsible for electoral oversight.

Both the ABC and the Guardian have reported the Prime Minister acknowledged on 6PR radio in Perth that people isolating with covid any time from last Friday can now vote by phone.

How to get your phone vote in

The practicalities haven’t changed except that you might need to hang on the line for some time because there is no callback service and it will be busy.

You must be registered by 4pm tomorrow (Saturday May 21) and vote by 6pm.

To maintain the security of our electoral system, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops.

There’s bound to be a last-minute rush, so get onto it now if you can.

You will need to go through extra steps to verify your identity.

Then you get sent a special way to identify that you are the correct voter and you make a separate call to cast your vote by phone.

That has to happen by 6pm on voting day.

Your vote will be written down by an Electoral Commission staffer in a secure environment and all they will know is that they are recording the vote of a person identified by the code number you have used in contacting them.

There is no connection between that number and your name that is available to anyone who has access to the details of your vote.

You can register now after reading the details here – note that the AEC has not updated that page as I write this and may not, but you should get through the process.

You need to collect certain info to assist them to identify you before you get your secret number.

It’s best to read that page and get all your documentation handy – that aspect is not changing, just the cutoff for when you found you had covid.

I’m afraid this was yet another uncoordinated application of technology by a bunch who seem to be stuck in the dark ages. And I’m talking about the pollies, not the AEC.

Government, technology and urgency do not always lead to happy customers.

When will the feds and states sort out more ways we can use tech safely to deal with government?

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