The ACT's major political parties have called for pre-polling at the next territory election to be shortened to two weeks.
Despite a push for early voting at last year's election due to the coronavirus pandemic, ACT Labor, the Canberra Liberals and the ACT Greens said the three-week pre-poll hindered campaigning efforts.
The three parties detailed their concerns in their respective submissions to the Legislative Assembly's inquiry into the 2020 ACT election.
Elections ACT encouraged Canberrans to pre-poll at last year's election due to the risks from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pre-polling at the election was significantly expanded, with 15 polling places opened in the three weeks before election day.
Normally, voters would have to prove they are interstate or working during election day but this was changed. As a result, about 63 per cent of Canberrans voted early at last year's election.
While all parties said they understood the coronavirus-imposed restrictions last year, they expressed concerns about the three-week pre-poll period.
In its submission, ACT Labor said the three-week pre-poll meant voters had not been given a chance to be fully informed before voting.
"A long-term trend of increased early voting has led to a situation where there are significant number of voters casting their votes before those contesting the election have had the opportunity to communicate their policies," its submission said.
"This continues to increase the risk that voters have not had the opportunity to become fully informed before voting."
The Canberra Liberals said in its submission that it was an "enormous logistical burden" for parties to ensure booths were manned for the three-week pre-poll period.
"Given the objective of pre-polling places is to provide convenience for those unable to vote on polling day, we believe that a two-week pre-poll voting period is sufficient," the submission said.
The Liberals also said stricter enforcement of pre-polling was needed. The submission said: "pre-poll should be the exception, not the norm. Despite this, over recent elections the level of pre-polling has increased dramatically".
The Greens submission did not call for the three-week pre-poll period to be shortened, instead it said there should be a small number of polling sites in the first week and expanded in the final two weeks.
"Having so many sites with the extended polling period makes it harder for political parties to be able to communicate their platforms to voters," the submission said.
Unlike the Liberals, the Greens submission said early voting should be available to all voters.
The parties also put forward their recommendations on roadside corflutes.
ACT Labor voiced support for restrictions on corflutes, it said the unrestricted use of corflutes on all public land should be banned. The ACT Greens did not use roadside corflutes in the election and support a ban on fixed roadside election signs. But the Canberra Liberals did not support a ban.
"Given the limited engagement with local media by Canberrans, roadside signage continues to be an important opportunity for political parties and, in particular, local candidates to build a profile," the Liberals submission said.
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