Rebekha secures pre-poll centre for Kangaroo Island

Rebekha secures pre-poll centre for Kangaroo Island

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has agreed to set up a pre-poll voter facility on Kangaroo Island during future Federal elections following persistent advocacy from the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.

Today Rebekha received a letter from Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers confirming an early voting centre would be open for voters for one week in the lead-up to the 2019 Federal Election.

The centre will be based in Kingscote in the same facility that will be selected for use on election day.

“This is fantastic news for the Island and I’m glad I continued to push the AEC to revisit the issue when, after the 2018 by-election, they initially rebuffed the possibility of a pre-poll voting centre based on KI’s voter population,” Rebekha said.

“I wrote back and pointed out that Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, which has a similar voter population, was provided with pre-poll voting in the last Federal Election as was Phillip Island in Victoria, which has a bridge to the mainland.

“While a week does not match the three-weeks allocated to pre-poll centres on our mainland during the by-election (which I believe was too long), this extra time does offer more opportunity for Islanders to exercise their democratic responsibilities.”

In his letter to Rebekha, Electoral Commissioner Rogers said the AEC had considered the situation on Kangaroo Island.

“As you pointed out, with 4500 residents, Kangaroo Island comes very close to our 5000 resident threshold and we anticipate it may get even closer then factoring in tourists,” Electoral Commissioner Rogers said.

“The AEC also acknowledges that the closest alternative early voting centre is in Victor Harbor which is a 45-minute ferry trip and then a 60km, 45-minute drive.”

In response to Rebekha’s complaint about the absence of Kangaroo Island from the maps used in the AEC’s advertising during the by-election, Electoral Commissioner Rogers said the material was created for the by-election only and maps would not be included in the official guide that is distributed to households for a full Federal Election.

“As a national product, and with approximately 8000 polling places, unlike a by-election, the guide does not include detailed maps and polling place locations for every electoral division,” he wrote.

BELOW: Copy of letter received 1 February 2019 from Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers

BELOW: Copy of Rebekha's second letter to the AEC asking the Electoral Commission to reconsider the pre-poll for KI.