Ten minutes. Actually, 9 minutes and 25 seconds. That's how long it took me to cast my vote in the 2022 Federal Election on the morning of Friday, May 20. Diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this week and sitting on Day 3 of isolation in regional Western Australia, phone voting was my only option to take part in the process. READ MORE: Without any symptoms last week, there was no need for me to register a postal vote, so I was relieved to hear the phone option had been opened to us stuck at home. I was however, apprehensive at the thought of waiting on hold for hours. The AEC's phone voting system is a two step process - first, I had to complete a simple registration online using my electoral roll details. I also had to submit some basic details of my positive PCR test, all of which were found in the text message I received from the testing clinic on Tuesday night. I received my eight-digit registration number about five minutes later (you may choose to receive this either by SMS or email), and I was instructed to call the AEC voting line when ready to vote. The instructions also advised me to have an example of my electorate's ballot paper in front of me before I called. A blank version can be found on the AEC website, using a simple postcode search to find the correct electorate. The major parties also have their How To Vote cards accessible on their websites, if you'd rather follow the preferences of your chosen candidate. Having become so familiar with hours and hours of governmental call centre music and pre-recorded spiels over the past two years, I dialled the number, turned on the speakerphone, and settled in for a long wait. Within 90 seconds, I was speaking with a person who quickly instructed me not to share my name or any personal details with him. He explained he would be helping me to complete my vote, and asked me to confirm three things - that I was COVID-19 positive, that I had not yet voted in this election, and that my statements were true and correct. I was then asked to provide my eight-digit registration number, along with a six-digit PIN I had set during the online setup. All confirmed, the AEC operator placed me on hold for a few seconds while he readied my ballot papers. "My ballot papers?" "Yes, each of us has the ballot papers of every single electorate around Australia on our desks. Including senate papers... it's quite the collection," he explained upon his return to the call. The next step involved explaining how I wanted my vote to appear. It's not as tricky as it might seem - I literally read out the numbers for each party. READ MORE: "Number one - I would like (candidate name). Number two - (my second selection)..." and so on. The AEC staffer read the order back to me to make sure it was correct, before we moved on to the Senate paper, or as he called it, "the fun one". Anyone who has had the pleasure of trying to wrangle that enormous, unwieldy scroll of candidates-below-the-line on polling day knows the selections are vast, and yes, you may choose to number as many boxes as you want during your phone call. I could hear the relief in his voice when I told him I would be sticking to the top row. We repeated the same process of numbering and confirming, and just like that, all done. "I'm just going to fold up your ballot papers now, and confirm that I have put them into the voting box on your behalf," the staffer told me as I thanked him for his time. "It's my pleasure," he assured me at the conclusion of the call. "You're not well, and we want to make sure your voice is still heard even though you are stuck at home." So that's it. A surprisingly simple and friendly interaction that took far less time than if I had driven to the polling station, parked my car, and run the How To Vote Card gauntlet. I encourage anyone considering "just copping the $20 fine" instead of making the effort to vote, to pick up the phone. There was one glaring and decidedly un-Australian omission to the entire phone voting process. Where's my democracy sausage?!