Kay Mousley South Australia Electoral Commissioner
CATASTROPHIC FIRE DAY ELECTION ARRANGEMENTS
Victor P Taffa
South Australian electoral officials have met with Police and Fire authorities to discuss arrangements in the event that a catastrophic fire day is declared on Election Day, March 20.
The Electoral Commissioner, Ms. Kay Mousley, said that in an extreme situation, she could adjourn voting in any area of the State for up to 21 days, although this was a last resort.
“We have held initial talks with fire authorities and police to discuss what steps may need to be taken if a catastrophic fire day is proclaimed on March 20 or in the event of a major fire or other disaster on Election Day.” Ms. Mousley said.
“In a catastrophic fire situation, there are parts of the State where it could be too dangerous for people to travel about to vote, while some polling places may also be considered too dangerous to open. We are working with Police and Fire authorities to determine the best response, while keeping the safety of the public in mind.”
Ms Mousley said she would be monitoring the situation across the State in the week leading up to the election and would be guided by Fire and Police authorities.
“Late March is considered to be the shoulder of the fire season, but we cannot afford to ignore the possibility that parts of the State could still face catastrophic conditions. The safety of the public has to be front of mind in any decision we make.”
Ms Mousley said that if a decision was made to adjourn voting in parts of the State, it was likely to be done on a district by district basis.
“It would be unlikely that metropolitan divisions would be affected, but there are districts across the Adelaide Hills and regional areas where the situation may be very different.”
Any adjournment of voting would delay the results of the State election.
“While we are hopeful that we will not face this situation on Election Day, it is important that we plan for such an event.” Ms. Mousley said.