WA election: Early voting confusion as regional polling places closed

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 24/02/2021 04:54:42 By Benjamin Gubana
Mark McGowan wearing a suit and tie: WA Premier Mark McGowan said he expected the Electoral Commission would be on top of the situation. (ABC News: Jacob Kagi) © Provided by ABC NEWSWA Premier Mark McGowan said he expected the Electoral Commission would be on top of the situation. (ABC News: Jacob Kagi)

Early voting in the WA state election has hit a stumbling block with at least two regional polling centres closed without warning.

Residents in Moora in the state's Wheatbelt who turned up to cast their vote at the courthouse this morning were met with a sign telling them it was not available today due to unforeseen circumstances.

The Nationals member for Moore, Shane Love, said he was "staggered" when he arrived and found the site closed.

"I actually rang the local returning officer a short time ago to check that arrangements were in place, we've had information circulated quite recently from the Electoral Commissioner about how the booths would be organised.

"We're told it's a technical issue. I have heard from another person that Karratha has [also] had an issue.

"It's very disappointing for all those people who thought 'well today's the day I can go and cast my vote', everyone's leaving disappointed."

Premier Mark McGowan said he expected the WA Electoral Commission (WAEC) would be on top of the situation.

"There are 70 early voting centres around the state, and the Electoral Commission will administer this," he said.

"And I expect they'll get on top of these things very quickly.

"But my advice to people is to vote early. If you can vote early, it means you can avoid the queues on election day, it means it's more COVID safe. I think it's a sensible thing to do.

The WAEC said the Moora Courthouse site had been closed for 24 hours due to an unforeseen staff shortage.

It said the Karratha site had been closed due to an unexpected delay in the delivery of election material, but that it would open later on Wednesday.

Premier renews calls for Opposition costings

Mr McGowan was at the South Metro TAFE in Munster announcing an election commitment of $25 million to purchase new state-of-the-art equipment for TAFEs.

He again took aim at Liberal Party leader Zak Kirkup for a lack of independent election commitment costings.

"The Liberals and Nationals [commitments] are somewhere in the vicinity of $26 billion," he said.

"They are roughly 13 times the spend of this government. If they get elected at the next election, they'll bankrupt Western Australia again.

"When we were in opposition we put our Metronet plan into treasury for costing, and the costings were released.

"The Liberal Party needs to submit its policies for some sort of independent verification otherwise they will have no credibility.

Mr Kirkup said the Liberals still had a number of policies to reveal before the March 13 poll, and the party's full commitment costings would be revealed the week before election day.

"I am confident in our strategy, it's exactly what the Labor Party did last election in 2017," Mr Kirkup said.

Mr Kirkup said the polling stumble was "not ideal".

"Obviously, if you can't get ballot papers to a pre-poll centre that's not ideal at all," Mr Kirkup said.

"If there are bumps along the way, I am sure the Commission will respond appropriately."

24. helmikuuta 2021 6:54:42 Categories: ABC NEWS

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