On Monday afternoon it was announced that the much-anticipated Eden-Monaro by-election will be held on July 4.
The announcement was made by Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP.
“In normal circumstances, the Australian Electoral Commission advises that it is preferable not to have elections during school holidays,” Mr Smith said.
“With the current challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, the advice is different on this occasion.
“The AEC has undertaken extensive consultations, including with the New South Wales Department of Education, because a significant number of polling places are located at schools.
“As a result, the AEC has advised me that it is preferable to have a polling date where students and staff do not return to school on the very next Monday. This will then enable a thorough sanitising clean after the completion of voting and counting at polling booths at New South Wales schools.”
Mr Smith said he would issue the writ on Thursday for what will be a five-and-a-half week campaign. It is also “to give the AEC a few more days of preparation before the by-election timetable begins, and to enable them to consult with relevant stakeholders about the conduct of the by-election during this time,” he said.
The Australian Electoral Officer for NSW, Warwick Austin, said that people should act now to ensure their enrolment details are up to date by 8pm on Thursday, June 4.
“You can enrol, or update or check your enrolment details online at www.aec.gov.au,” Mr Austin said.
If you are temporarily displaced from your enrolled address due to the recent bushfires, you can remain enrolled at that address.
If the recent bushfires have caused you to move residence to what you would consider to be a permanent arrangement, then you should update your enrolment prior to the close of rolls for the by-election.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the AEC has introduced measures for this by-election to comply with the advice of health authorities.
Mr Austin said that the health and safety of Eden-Monaro voters had been at the forefront of by-election preparation.
“People who cast their vote in-person will notice a different voting experience to what they may have encountered in the past with a number of social distancing and hygiene measures to be implemented,” he said.
There are in-person and postal voting options available for this by-election. It is important to plan how you will vote, according to your personal circumstances. If you need to apply for a postal vote go to www.aec.gov.au/eden-monaro. Voting from overseas will be available via post only.
The by-election timetable is as follows:
Issue of writ – Thursday May 28
Close of rolls – Thursday June 4
Close of nominations – Tuesday June 9
Declaration of nominations – Wednesday June 10
Early voting starts – Monday 15 June
Postal vote applications close – Wednesday July 1
By-election day – Saturday July 4
Return of writ – On or before Saturday September 5