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About one in three eligible Australians have cast an early vote

About one in three eligible voters have cast their ballot ahead of polling officially opening for election day with nearly six million Australians going through pre-poll centres.

A mix of pre-poll, postal and telephone votes means only about eight million of 17 million voters are due through the doors on Saturday.

The Australian Electoral Commission will begin the task of counting ballots from Saturday night as the country votes for its next government.

But the commission said about 5.54 million people made an early vote ahead of Saturday on top of a record 2.73 million people applying for a postal vote.

A last-minute change to regulations will allow people forced to isolate with COVID-19 to vote over the phone.

The commission has registered 45,000 people for telephone votes and another 27,000 have given ballots to their mobile team.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers warned voters that COVID-19 could mean longer waits, with some polling booths struggling with staff shortages.

“It’s a COVID election,” Mr Rogers said.

“When you turn up to your polling place today, there may well be queues.

“Please be kind to our staff. They’re your parents, your grandparents and your siblings.”

-AAP



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