The Australian Electoral Commission has said staff shortages may mean some polling stations will be unable to open for the election on Saturday.
The electoral commissioner, Tom Rogers, said the impact would be “limited” with the vast majority of Australia’s 7,000 polling stations to remain open.
Capricornia, Flynn, Kennedy and Leichhardt in Queensland, Barker and Grey in South Australia, and Durack and O’Connor in Western Australia are the main areas of concern, the AEC said in a statement.
Rogers urged people in these areas to access the alternative voting options available to them, as well as signing up to work on election day if they could.
“While the impact will likely be limited, and limited to certain areas, voters in identified regional locations who have not accessed an early voting centre, or postal vote, may not have a polling venue in their town on election day,” Rogers said.
He said the commission had previously advised “recruitment difficulty” could occur in some areas.
“Current labour shortages in regional areas have been well documented,” Rogers said.
“No frontline service has been immune to resourcing difficulties and we’re running the nation’s biggest in-person, manual event.
“We’re calling on other organisations to assist as a final push, and investigating all possible staffing models including amalgamating venues.”
Earlier in the day Rogers called on voters to consider early voting if they could. About 550 early-voting centres are open including several polling stations with extended operating hours to keep in line with demand.
“Nearly six million voters have either prepolled or applied for a postal vote, and many more will need to in the coming days,” he said.
Phone voting would be available from Thursday for people who had tested positive to Covid after 6pm on Tuesday 17 May, the AEC said.
Advocacy group Getup urged the AEC to do everything that it could to ensure that predominantly Indigenous populations in north Queensland would be able to vote.