Record numbers of residents voting early

Many residents have taken the opportunity to vote early as the region responds to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Saturday, 21 March was the first Saturday of early voting in Queensland history and more than 65,000 Queenslanders voted on that day.

In Ipswich 2,500 voters made use of the extra day, Saturday, to vote.

About 24,000 Ipswich voters have lodged their ballot since early voting opened.

With about 650,000 Queensland residents already casting their vote at the booths across the state and about 560,000 applications received for postal votes.

This already exceeds the full early voting period for the 2016 local government elections, with almost a week of early voting remaining.

Voting opened last week with extended hours put into place to allow as many voters as possible to get their votes in early for the local government elections and Bundamba by-election.

Early voting centres in Ipswich are at:

  • WG Hayden Humanities Centre, 56 South Street, Ipswich.
  • Town Square Redbank Plains Shopping Centre, Shop 38a, 357-403 Redbank Plains Road, Redbank Plains.
  • Springfield Tennis Centre, Unit 1, 44 Sportstar Drive, Springfield Central.
  • 1/14 Coal Street, Bundamba.
  • Yamanto Shopping Village, Shop 29, 512-514 Warwick Road, Yamanto.

Early votes for Ipswich can also be cast at Brisbane City Hall on Adelaide Street, Brisbane in the Sherwood Room (entry via Ann Street doors).

Early voting centres are open Tuesday, 24 March from 9am until 6pm, Wednesday, 25 March and Thursday, 26 March extended hours from 9am until 9pm and Friday, 27 March from 9am until 6pm.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland has implemented 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’.

The ECQ encourages voters that are vulnerable to COVID-19, including Queenslanders aged 60 and over, to vote early between 9am and 11am each day.

Additional ECQ staff will be available to provide support for vulnerable electors during the voting process.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young had made it clear that it was “perfectly safe” to vote.

Speaking at a media conference, Dr Young said voters who were healthy could vote early or on election day, 28 March, and maintain the 1.5m distance between individuals.

“Everyone … absolutely go and vote, vote early this week … vote on Saturday … it’s perfectly safe,” she said.

“Normally our voting process is a very social event – we have sausage sizzles, we have fetes, we have all sorts of things.

“They’re not happening this time, so people just go straight in and vote and straight out – and the risk of doing that is absolutely minimal.

“Of course I would ask that anyone who is sick to not attend, that’s just common sense, and anyone who’s in quarantine or isolation or is in one of those groups that we’re concerned about, for them not to attend, and they should contact the electoral commission and manage that process.”

The ECQ is providing eligible voters, including those who identify as having an impairment, disability or a low level of literacy, those advised by a medical practitioner to remain in isolation during the election period due to exposure to COVID-19 with access to telephone voting.

Almost 14,000 people have registered for telephone voting and nearly 8,000 people have cast their vote as at 5pm Monday, 23 March. 

Those eligible must register to cast a vote via telephone.

To register for telephone voting, phone 1300 912 782 and select option 1
Registrations opened on Monday, 16 March 2020.

The call centre is open from:

  • 8am to 6pm – Monday, 23 March to Friday, 27 March 2020
  • 8am to 12pm (midday) – election day (Saturday, 28 March 2020)

To cast a telephone vote, phone 1300 912 782 and select option 2 

Telephone voting opened on Monday, 16 March 2020.

The call centre is open from:

  • 8am to 6pm – Monday, 23 March to Friday, 27 March 2020
  • 8am to 6pm – election day (Saturday, 28 March 2020)

Voting in local government elections is compulsory.

Election day is Saturday, 28 March.

Voting hours are from 8am until 6pm. 

Also read:

>> Candidates locked in for council elections

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