Australia

Do It Yourself: Former Bunnings site to host drive-through voting for Victoria election

Key Points
  • The site of a former Bunnings in Melbourne’s outer north-west will host drive-through voting for the state election.
  • The service will only be open to COVID-positive voters with evidence of a positive RAT or PCR.
  • The site will be open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
COVID-positive Victorians who don’t want to risk infecting others will be able to cast their vote in the state’s election at a drive-through site in Melbourne’s outer north-west.
The service will be available at the site of a former Bunnings warehouse in Melton West, which was repurposed earlier in the pandemic to provide COVID-19 testing, before becoming .
With applications for postal votes closing on Wednesday night, the drive-through is the only way for Victorians with COVID-19 to have their say in the state’s election without lining up at a voting centre with everyone else.

A similar measure was put in place for South Australia’s state election in March, when COVID-positive people were allowed to drive to a designated pick-up site to collect a voting pack and return their ballot via post.

Where is the drive-through voting site and who is eligible?

The drive-through voting site between 9am and 5pm on Thursday and Friday, and 8am to 6pm on Saturday, which is election day.
Victoria’s Acting Electoral Commissioner Dana Fleming said there wasn’t enough time to find and lease any other premises large enough to handle the demand.
“We know that people want to vote but may not feel comfortable entering a voting centre,” she said in a statement.

“We need to provide at least one option, even if it’s not a very convenient one.”

To be eligible to use the drive-through voting service, you will need to provide evidence of a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) or a text message from the Department of Health confirming you’ve returned a positive PCR result.
You must also wear a face mask and stay in your car the entire time.
“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,” Ms Fleming said.

“It will take a little longer and I ask for voters who use the service to be as patient as possible.”

Can I vote by phone if I have COVID?

While it was available to COVID-positive people , phone voting in Victoria’s state poll will be limited to those who are blind, have low vision or a physical disability and can’t vote without assistance, or are impacted by flooding and unable to access a voting centre.
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) said it had sought to have people who were COVID-positive be eligible to vote by phone in the state election.
But that became void when the state’s pandemic emergency declaration and .

Will I get fined if I don’t vote because I have COVID?

People who don’t cast a ballot in Victoria’s election may be sent .
This notice gives you 28 days to explain why it appears that you didn’t vote.
Ms Fleming indicated that those with COVID-19 who live too far away from the drive-through location or were too unwell to attend a voting centre may have their fine waived.

“Should any person who is COVID-positive not be able to vote on election day, we will certainly take that into consideration,” she said.

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