Eden-Monaro Voters Go to Polls Amid Virus

July 3, 2020 Updated: July 3, 2020

Voters in Eden-Monaro are sharpening their pencils and heading to the ballot box to have their say, albeit in a COVID-19-safe way.

Polls formally open in the by-election for the seat in the southeastern corner of NSW on July 4.

However, about half the 114,000 voters have either cast their ballot early or mailed it in.

The electoral commission has warned people it may take longer than usual to cast their vote due to coronavirus safety measures.

Voting places will have hand sanitiser and social distancing measures in place, and people have been asked to bring their own pen or pencil.

There are 14 candidates running but the race is widely expected to come down to a contest between Labor’s Kristy McBain and Liberal Fiona Kotvojs, neither of whom is likely to win on primary vote alone.

The by-election was triggered when respected Labor member Mike Kelly resigned from parliament due to health concerns.

It’s been 100 years since a party in government won a seat from the opposition at a by-election.

The vast electorate has suffered from drought, bushfires and the coronavirus recession in recent months.

Labor has accused the government of talking big, especially about the bushfire recovery, but having poor follow-through when it comes to delivering what people need.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s has told voters he needs a local voice on his government’s benches to ensure the smooth delivery of help to people in the region.

On Friday, a Sydney man was charged with sending offensive and menacing emails about Ms McBain to voters and others.

Katina Curtis in Canberra