MP visits pre-poll secured for KI

22 Jul 2020

Posted May 14, 2019

Today the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is handing out how-to-vote cards at the pre-poll voter facility she successfully advocated for on Kangaroo Island.

The four-day pre-poll centre in the Kingscote Town Hall is a first for the Island and follows a request from residents and subsequent negotiations with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

"The Island community felt it was really unfair that they didn't get a pre-poll facility during the by-election and when they raised it with me I took up their request with the AEC," Rebekha said.

"The AEC initially rebuffed the idea, saying the Island population was too small but then changed their mind after 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 four days does not match the three-weeks allocated to some pre-poll centres on our mainland during the Federal Election, this extra time does offer more opportunity for Islanders to exercise their democratic responsibilities.”

In his letter to Rebekha in February, 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 when 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.”

BELOW: Copy of letter received in February 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.

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