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Senator calls for change to how-to-vote system as ‘out of towners’ intimidate voters

When you head to the polls on election day, no doubt you’ve been met with dozens of people thrusting how-to-vote cards your way.

Today, there’s been a push from within the Coalition to ban people handing out the cards at election time, with pamphlets being propped up on tables instead.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has knocked the idea on the head but Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says harassment at polling booths has gotten out of hand.

He tells Chris Kenny in the “good old days” local Liberal and Labor party representatives would hand out cards to voters and “polite and friendly banter” would fly.

But it seems that isn’t the case anymore.

“Nowadays you have GetUp! operatives, who are out of towners, coming in and flooding a polling booth,” Senator Abetz says.

“It’s like, for the voter, walking through a picket line.”

The Liberal Senator says more regulation needs to be in place.

“I’m in favour of the liberty of allowing people to hand out how-to-vote cards but when it becomes like having to cross a picket line for the punter just to get into the polling booth… I think something needs to give.”

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