COVID-19 FAQs

WESTERN AUSTRALIA STATE ELECTION AND COVID-19 – as at 23 February 2021

1.    How is the WA Electoral Commission managing the COVID-19 rules in relation to hygiene and physical distancing?

The WA Electoral Commission has worked closely with the Department of Health to manage the risks around COVID-19 at the 2021 election. If you attend an Early Voting Centre or a Polling Place, you will notice changes from previous elections.

Precautionary measures have been put in place to help protect electors and polling staff, including: 
•    the number of people allowed in a voting venue will comply with Health guidelines, based on the size of the venue;
•    hand sanitiser will be available throughout all Early Voting Centres and Polling Places;
•    voting screens, common surfaces and touch points will be cleaned regularly; and
•    how-to-vote cards will not be used more than once.

We are also asking people to bring their own pen or pencil – a big change from past elections. Single use pencils will be available if required.

Physical distancing rules and increased cleaning may mean voting will take a little longer than normal - so make sure you plan ahead.

 

2.     How is the WA Electoral Commission managing COVID-19 contact tracing?

The WA Electoral Commission has created a comprehensive contact tracing system across all Early Voting Centres and Polling Places. This involves a combination of SafeWA QR Codes and manual contact registers.

Electors are asked to use the SafeWA app to register their attendance at any Early Voting Centre or Polling Place they visit, or complete the manual contact register if they do not have access to the SafeWA app.

 

3.    Why do I need to provide my contact details when I vote in person?

It is now mandatory in WA to provide contact details when entering certain venues. The WA Electoral Commission strongly encourage you to provide contact details when you enter an Early Voting Centre or Polling Place. This will help our community stay safe and is an extra precautionary measure in line with COVID Safe principles.

Providing your contact details will assist with contact tracing in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case being detected at the Polling Place or Early Voting Centre you are attending. The most efficient way to do this is to use the SafeWA app. 

For more information on the Safe WA App please click here.

 

4.    What if I don’t have a Smartphone for the SafeWA App?

The WA Electoral Commission will have an individual slip for you to register your name, phone number, date and time of attendance at the Polling Place or Early Voting Centre. These will be deposited in a separate box and stored securely.

 

5.    Why is the WA Electoral Commission not able to use the electoral roll for contact tracing if required at a Polling Place or an Early Voting Centre?

The Department of Health advise that the most effective form of contacting you, if needed for contract tracing, is via mobile phone or email. The electoral roll does not have this information for every elector. 

 

6.    How is the WA Electoral Commission addressing the potential for a large number of people to attend Polling Places on Saturday 13 March 2021? 

In 2021, the WA Electoral Commission will have more Early Voting Centres across Western Australia, and will be encouraging people to vote early, or to apply for Postal Voting.

 

7.    Is there a risk from handling ballot papers?

The Department of Health advises that there is minimal risk of virus transmission from inanimate objects such as paper. The best approach is frequent hand hygiene, including the use of hand sanitiser, and trying not to touch your face with your hands. 

The WA Electoral Commission will have hand sanitiser available for electors at all Early Voting Centres and at Polling Places.

 

8.    Are election contractors such as cleaners, security and couriers complying with COVID Safe practices?

The WA Electoral Commission has advised all election contractors that they need to have an appropriate COVID Safe Plan in place for their employees.

 

9.    Will political party and candidate volunteers at Polling Places or Early Voting Centres be complying with COVID safe practices?

All political party and candidate volunteers are required to comply with COVID safe practices. The WA Electoral Commission has communicated with all political parties and candidates about COVID Safe practices at the election and encouraged them to ensure their workers are provided with sanitiser and that it is used regularly. 

The WA Electoral Commission has also requested that the parties and candidates register via the SafeWA app or the manual contact register system.

 

10.    Why isn’t electronic voting available to all Western Australians so we don’t have to attend in person to vote?

The Western Australian electoral legislation only permits technology-assisted voting for people who need assistance with voting due to insufficient literacy skills, visual impairment or other incapacities. If this is the case for you, Telephone Assisted Voting (TAV) is available by contacting our call centre on 13 68 00 (Overseas +61 8 9214 7290).

For those with a sight impairment, Vote Assist facilities are also available at a small number of polling places. Check elections.wa.gov.au for more information.

There is no on-line voting solution available for use in Western Australia at this election. 

 

11.    What do I do if I am unwell or in hospital on Election Day?

If you know you are going to be in hospital on polling day, you can vote early either via post or in person at one of our many Early Voting Centres around WA.

If you are unwell on Election Day, you should not attend a Polling Place to vote. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms you should present to a COVID clinic for testing, and isolate until you receive your result. 

If you are enrolled but fail to vote, you will receive a letter from the WA Electoral Commission asking why you did not vote. You will need to provide a valid and sufficient reason acceptable to the Electoral Commission for not voting in order to avoid being fined.

If you find yourself unexpectedly in hospital or in isolation awaiting a COVID-19 test result on polling day, these may be considered valid reasons to be unable to vote.

 

12.    I am returning to Western Australia soon, will COVID-19 affect my voting options?

Electors planning to return to WA from interstate and overseas should keep in mind that COVID-19 quarantine requirements will limit their voting options.

Electors are encouraged to complete an early vote, either via post or in person at one of our interstate or overseas Early Voting Centres.

Early voting by post is available until 13 March 2021, with applications closing on 10 March 2021.

Early voting in person is available interstate and in New Zealand at a limited number of locations from 24 February.

 

13.    What do I do if I am in hotel quarantine or self-isolation?

If your quarantine / isolation period ends before polling day, you can vote however you choose.

Voting options this State Election include: postal voting, early in person voting, mobile polling and voting on Election day.

If you will still be in quarantine or self-isolation on polling day and have not yet voted, visit our quarantine voting page to find out more about your quarantine voting options.

If you are enrolled but fail to vote, you will receive a letter from the WA Electoral Commission asking why you did not vote. You will need to provide a valid and sufficient reason acceptable to the Electoral Commission for not voting in order to avoid being fined.

If you find yourself unexpectedly in quarantine on polling day, this may be considered a valid reason to be unable to vote.
 

 

Further information
For up to date information on COVID-19 and the State General Election in Western Australia, please see the following links:

COVID Safe Voting Plan
 

WA Electoral Commission COVID Management Plan
 

Western Australian Government website (wa.gov.au) – WA election information


Who can I call for COVID-19 queries?
13COVID (13 26843) 
Interstate Callers: 1800 595 206
International Callers: +61 8 9118 3100