Frustration has boiled over in one of Australia's most densely populated areas after residents were given just one nearby location to cast their vote for the Voice to Parliament.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has stressed it did what it could to accomodate voters in Melbourne's CBD however were unable to secure other sites to the solitary location at Docklands.
Damning video shared by Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne Nicholas Reece showed huge lines at the polling station stretching along several streets which he said had meant there was a two-hour wait to cast a vote.
"This is unacceptable in a democracy, especially given we have compulsory voting,' he said.
A map of AEC voting locations in Melbourne laid bare the problem, revealing a significant area in the middle of the city, including large parts of Carlton, without a location to vote.
Two hour queue to vote in Docklands after @AusElectoralCom failed to set up a polling booth in the CBD. This is unacceptable in a democracy, especially given we have compulsory voting. #auspol pic.twitter.com/YA714qWB79
— Nicholas Reece (@Nicholas_Reece) October 14, 2023
AEC defends 'difficult' situation
The AEC said while it understood the frustration of voters, it was "difficult" to find suitable locations at such "short notice".
"We endeavoured to get CBD options - liaising with more than 30 venues with no suitable availability," it said on X, formerly known as Twitter. It said "such systems will always have queues".
Yet disgruntled residents did not buy the response, with one calling it a "cop out excuse".
"Super poor planning. Low density suburbs getting lots of them, and high density CBD residents and Docklands just have one (quite understaffed) one," another said.
Others pointed out the Covid pandemic had led to an increase in vacant locations in the CBD, meaning there were plenty of options for sites.
Melbourne's CBD is home to more than 50,000 residents.
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