A new has arisen this federal election for those heading to the polls: how to vote if you’re in COVID-19 iso on election day.

May 21 is coming up very fast and while there are many alternative ways to vote like postal voting or voting early, being struck down by the spicy cough can come out of nowhere and derail your election plans.

So what if it happens to you? Or you become a household contact and are required to stay home for seven days? The the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) announced on Monday it would roll out a telephone voting system for those affected by isolation — it estimated around 100,000 Australians could need to vote from COVID-19 iso on election day.

How do you register?

Voting over the phone will only be open for three days: Thursday May 19, Friday May 20 and Saturday May 21. Postal voting registration closes on Wednesday so if you go into iso in the next week you’ll need to register to vote via post.

“If you haven’t voted prior to election day and you do contract COVID in those last couple of days, there’ll be a telephone voting option available for you,” AEC spokesperson Evan Ekin-Smyth told Sky News.

If you’ve missed the pre-polling and postal vote options you will be able to make a declaration that says you’re subject to a health order and must access the “emergency” measure.

It’s registration is yet to open, so keep an eye on its website.

How will voting over the phone work?

It’s pretty simple really. Once you’ve registered you’ll be be issued a unique code. You will need to call the AEC, give your code to the AEC official on the other end to identify yourself and then you will basically tell them how you want to vote.

The official won’t read out the options on the ballot paper unless you’re registered as having impaired or low vision, so you’ll be required to take a look at the ballot paper online first and then you’ll simply tell them your preferences.

“This process will be supervised and scrutineers will be able to observe, as they can for all voting methods,” Ekin-Smyth said.

“We’ll be providing ballot paper recreations on our website for people to be able to study and come to us prepared on how they want to number their ballot paper — reducing call times and wait times.”

Please be patient if you’re voting from iso

The AEC has said because this is a new era they’re still ironing out the details and the process may not run perfectly.

“The wait on the phone will be longer than the wait at a polling place. People need to plan their vote this election and ensure they only access services that they are eligible to access,” Ekin-Smyth said.

Remember voting is compulsory and a privilege so be prepared. And make sure you order some bread and sausages to cook up at home.