A Tasmanian rural council is fighting moves by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to close remote polling booths.
But as the Central Highlands Council demands answers from the AEC, the Tasmanian Electoral Commission (TEC) has committed to keeping rural booths open.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) said costly inefficiencies were to blame for the closure of more than 40 federal election polling booths across Tasmania.
Some are in built-up areas, but many are in isolated rural locations.
Central Highlands Mayor Deidre Flint is angry that the Ellendale, Hamilton Gretna and Bronte booths are set to go and demanded answers from the AEC.
“We’re a rural and a remote area and the distances are in excess of the 20 kilometres that have been recommended and our older residents actually say to us they prefer going to the polling booth than doing a postal vote,” she said.
The AEC wrote to local and federal members about the move but did not consult local members or residents.
The sprawling rural-based electorate of Lyons will lose 10 rural polling booths, including Levendale, Pyengana, Maydena and Port Arthur.
In the electorate of Bass booths will close at Blessington Upper and Targa; in Braddon Mawbanna, Montagu, Reekara and Togari will go; and Franklin will lose the Barnes Bay booth.
State Electoral Commissioner Julian Type said he would not be following suit.
He said that in the past, the TEC had maintained the same polling places as the AEC, but in the future there would probably be more rural booths opened.
“As we see it, quite a number of these polling places are in relatively isolated communities and we simply don’t see the justification for withdrawing the service from them,” he said.
“I think it’s true to say that smaller the number of voters at a polling place the greater the per capita expense but that’s the price of democracy.”
Topics: elections, ellendale-7140