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Nats press on with push to protect SA 19 March voters from COVID-19

Lead Nationals Candidate for the Legislative Council, Gary Johanson, believes South Australian voters has questioned whether voters may end up exposed to polling booth COVID-19 hotspots at the upcoming state election in March.

Johanson wrote to both SA Premier Steven Marshall and the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Malinauskas, advising both party leaders to take a bipartisan approach in addressing the safety of voting booths at the March state election.

Former Port Adelaide mayor Johanson declared in a statement:

“The SA Nationals are calling on both the Labor and Liberal parties to go back to work and expand the criteria for postal voting to all South Australians, thereby doing away with the need for polling booths for this election.
“This will eliminate the risk for the public, volunteers and electoral workers-after all how can electoral workers sanitize a cardboard box?”

The independent body running the election sought to allay fears after concerns so many voters might be in quarantine come polling day, results could be affected.

The Electoral Commission of South Australia told Flow:

“There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the safety of the upcoming State Election. The Electoral Commission is confident in our ability to run a safe and secure election.
“We are working with SA Health to give the greatest possible access to safe voting solutions for the people of South Australia.
“When these [safety plans] are finalised in the coming weeks, we will hold a briefing for the media and answer any questions at that time.”

Mr Johanson has urged the Premier to recall parliament to tackle the potential problem head-on:

“We’ve been very concerned that SA has been walking into a disaster with the mix of public, compulsory voting and COVID. We’ve called on the Premier repeatedly to re-call parliament to simply deal with the issue.”
“It’s simply not good enough that South Australians are being put at risk due to politicking, inaction and the wish of the Premier not to have to face parliament again.”
“All South Australians should be given the opportunity to vote via postal vote and all unnecessary points of contact at polling booths need to be scrapped.”


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