As for me personally, as for the first news, I don’t mind voting. I would like to have my say in who will lead the state in which I live, and who will bear the greatest responsibility for making decisions that will affect me and my family over the next four years.
Besides, I can feed two children. sausages of democracy for lunch
But while we’re on the subject, in news number two, I also have Covid.
Somehow I managed to avoid it up to this point, but my husband and I were victims of an acute cough. And on top of that, the voting will also be poignant, perhaps even more poignant than Covid.
Why? Well, because if you weren’t super organized and couldn’t visit early voting center or were eligible to vote by mail (two things that I obviously couldn’t do/didn’t have the right to do), then there is no easy way to cast my vote in an election.
Because, unlike the federal elections earlier in the year, Covid-infected people don’t have telephone lines to vote, and until yesterday there was no alternative.
Now we are very “generous” (as suggested) allocated one – yes, one – place for through voting for the entire state.
“We know people want to vote, but it may not be convenient for them to walk into a polling station. We need to provide at least one option, even if it’s not very convenient,” said Acting Commissioner for Elections Dana Fleming.
“In good conscience, we felt we had to offer at least one option to voters in this situation. We have an early voting center located on the former Bannings site in Melton West, which we have converted into a driveway.
“There just wasn’t enough time to find and rent any other space that was big enough to handle it.”
Oh, yes, there was not enough time – the elections have been known for several months, and since October the wave has been growing …
But this single gated polling center is the only way to vote if you currently have Covid statewide – located in Melton, on the outskirts of Melbourne, well, it might be reasonably accessible to residents of the metropolitan area, and even to me in my regional Victorian terrain – I mean I would need to drive a little over 100km to get there (which is exactly what you want to do when I have Covid). But for those who live in other parts of the state, you’d better get up early and fill up your car (in a Covid-safe way, of course) because you can drive over six hours to get there.
And then, of course, with thousands of people who test positive every day, I can’t imagine the queue for this one polling station only open on Friday from 9:00 to 17:00 and on Saturday, from 8:00 to 18:00, will be especially short. Also be prepared to wait a few more hours while you are sick and in your car.
Oh, and don’t forget your positive RAT test or a message from the health department to confirm your positive PCR test, because without that you won’t be allowed to vote on the driveway. According to the AEC, this should deter any voters who “just like the idea of a pass-through vote.”
Although it took me a lot of restraint not to laugh at that last comment (because it sounds hilarious), my currently rather meager energy reserve turned into anger.
In my own situation, to cast my vote in a state election, my husband and I would have to drive (albeit not fully prepared) 100 km either on Friday while my two kids are at school (and in the hope that we’ll be back on time, to pick them out) or Saturday with them in the car (and putting aside all our social distance) to do it. None of the options are perfect.
Or, of course, we do not vote in this one polling place where we are allowed to vote, and although we can no longer get a fine (because we have registered our Covid infection), we will not be able to say who forms our state government, and it doesn `t suit me.
But for those who want to cast their vote, which is their democratic right, who are suffering from Covid more severely than my husband or I, those who are older, who cannot independently reach this site and / or live a few hours away from this site, well I guess they just don’t deserve to vote.
I mean, isn’t that the message we’re given? If you didn’t vote early (which not everyone can do) or register to vote by mail on time (again, not everyone is eligible) and you contracted Covid (which no one in their right mind tries to do purposefully), well, you don’t deserve your word.
Or, alternatively, just break all government guidelines, don’t report your Covid infection, and go to your local vote center infected anyway – I suspect many people will do this.
But I think at least with this decision we have the ability to decide, just don’t expect this wave to slow down anytime soon.
Shauna Handley is a freelance writer.
Originally published as Victorians Face Ridiculous Situation to Cast Their Vote