Local elections to still go ahead - Postal votes close today



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Queensland’s 2020 local government elections will at this stage go ahead as scheduled on March 28, according to the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ).

Meanwhile, applications for postal votes have surged over the weekend with over 96,000 new applications for postal votes since Friday afternoon across Queensland. The deadline for postal voting applications is 7pm tonight, 16 March.

Queensland’s Electoral Commissioner, Pat Vidgen said the ECQ has been closely monitoring statements by the Prime Minister and the advice of health authorities in considering how to conduct polling in these elections.

“The local government elections are proceeding in accordance with advice that only non-essential mass gatherings should be cancelled,” Mr Vidgen said.

“Elections facilitate an essential service by providing for democratic representation for Queenslanders.

“However, we recognise that this is an extraordinary situation and are adapting our service model accordingly. This includes additional hygiene precautions and people management measures to be implemented at the nearly 1500 early voting centres and polling booths across Queensland.

“This is a unique and evolving situation and we will update voters if circumstances change. I encourage people to check the ECQ website for up-to-date information about how to cast their vote,” Mr Vidgen said.

Additionally, the ECQ will be implementing a range of new measures for people attending early voting centres and polling booths to vote in-person.

This includes sourcing additional supplies of hand sanitiser for use by voters at polling booths.

Voters are also encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil with them to vote as an additional hygiene precaution.

Other measures include:

• Additional cleaning of polling booth areas will be undertaken to ensure that all surfaces are regularly disinfected.
• Extra staff will be employed at polling booths to assist with queue control and monitoring numbers of people in attendance.
• Vote issuing tables and screens will be positioned to maximise distance between all people in attendance.
• New measures will be implemented to take votes of residents of aged care facilities which were to be ‘declared institutions’.

It is important to remember that voting is compulsory. Electors should consider which voting options are most suitable for them at these elections.

Early voting kicked off today in the Douglas Shire at the Mossman Shire Community Hall and the Port Douglas Community Hall and will run every weekday until the election. 

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