New ways to vote

For the first time, voters living with a disability, in a nursing home, or living overseas could be able to cast their vote over the telephone at next year’s election.

New laws passed Parliament this week, enabling telephone-assisted voting for certain people, ensuring all South Australians are able to have their say in 2022.

“This will remove barriers and empower all voters at next year’s State election,” Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said.

“It’s an important means of ensuring all South Australians are able to cast a vote and contribute to the future and direction of our State,” she said.

The new law is part of a raft of measures which passed Parliament this week, helping to modernise elections and keep voters Covid safe.

Under the reforms, the Electoral Commissioner will no longer be required to encourage polling at a booth on polling day and will also have greater discretion in establishing pre-poll booths anywhere in the State up to 12 days before the election.

People who wish to vote ahead of polling day will no longer be required to provide a lawful excuse to cast their vote at their local pre-poll booth.

“This will help to prevent a crowd at crunch time, enable social distancing, and give South Australians more flexibility,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

The specific categories defining who will be able to access telephone-assisted voting will be determined by regulations closer to polling day.

$150,000 was set aside in the 2021/22 State Budget to roll out this measure, bringing South Australia in line with other jurisdictions across the country.