Queensland voters are hitting the polls early in a move that has been welcomed by Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.
Mr Hinchliffe said the turnout at early polling stations was as expected, almost two weeks ahead of the 28 March election date.
“Community safety is paramount,” he said.
“Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has emphasised the importance of having mayors and councillors in place to lead their communities at this time.
“The latest advice from Dr Young is that there is no need to delay the elections at this time.
“Several measures have been put in place to make it easy and address the concerns of all voters, and these measures have been informed by public health advice.
“The ECQ will continue to work with health experts such as the CHO to ensure we are acting in line with the best and most up-to-date advice.
“It’s important to note that these measures also apply to the Currumbin and Bundamba byelections, also scheduled for 28 March.”
Mr Hinchliffe said one of the key measures was extending the hours for pre-polling if and where possible.
“This includes being open into the evening where possible and also open this Saturday and I urge people to take advantage of this opportunity,” he said.
“Also, people in declared institutions, such as nursing homes, will be given alternative voting options, including telephone voting.
“The figures around postal vote applications are also unprecedented, with an estimated 540,000 Queenslanders applying.
“I’d like to thank all the Electoral Commission of Queensland staff and volunteers working with Commissioner Pat Vidgen – these are truly historic times for the ECQ.”
To ensure election day and early voting runs smoothly, the Electoral Commission of Queensland has put in place a range of measures.
- Recommendation to take your own pen or pencil.
- Extra cleaning of polling booth areas.
- Extra staff to help with queue control and monitoring.
- Maximising the distance between vote-issuing tables and screens.
- And using the hand sanitiser that’s provided at voting centres.