The Electoral Commission of Queensland has consulted with the Chief Health Officer on how to protect voters from the spread of coronavirus. Photo: Brett Wortman
The Electoral Commission of Queensland has consulted with the Chief Health Officer on how to protect voters from the spread of coronavirus. Photo: Brett Wortman

Election fever impacted by coronavirus threat

THE increased risk of coronavirus in the region has Mackay voters nervous, but election officials are taking steps to prevent a further outbreak as thousands prepare to go to the polls.

More than three million Queenslanders are due to cast their vote in the local goverment election this month.

And with coronavirus offically reaching Central Queensland on Friday, the Electoral

Commission of Queensland has met with medical experts to prevent any spread in Mackay, Whitsundays and Isaac regions.

Read the latest coronavirus news here

After consulting with the Chief Health Officer, ECQ commissioner Pat Vidgen said there was no need to cancel mass gatherings or events.

“We have provided advice to temporary election staff, and are asking that members of the public take normal commonsense precautions, such as good hand and respiratory hygiene,” he said.

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Mr Vidgen said the “fast-moving situation” meant this advice could change in the two weeks before the March 28 election.

“If that advice changes we are prepared to respond appropriately,” he said.

“At this stage we remain focused on making sure that all Queenslanders have the services they need to cast their vote in the local government elections.”

Regardless of the global pandemic, it is compulsory to vote.

Worried Mackay and Whitsunday voters can bypass packed polling stations by registering for a postal ballot.

Alternatively, residents can chose to vote in the quieter environment of the pre-polling booths.

The risk is reduced for Isaac Regional Council voters.

The majority will mail their ballots and there will be only one public polling booth – at the Dysart Civic Centre, 16 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

POLLING BOOTHS: Where to vote in Mackay’s council election

ELECTION: Every council candidate running in Mackay

Ballot draw: Order of 21 council candidates determined

Revealed: Every Mackay region council candidate for 2020

Key election dates

March 16 – Early voting begins. Centres open from 9am - 5pm. Postal vote applications close at 7pm

March 28 – Election day – voting from 8am - 6pm

How to apply for a postal vote

To apply for a postal vote visit: https://results.elections.qld.gov.au/Events/ElectorSearch?EventID=593&EventType=2

Eligible voters, including those who identify as having an impairment, disability or a low level of literacy, can vote over the phone.

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

How to vote early

Mackay, Whitsunday, and Isaac region residents can pop into the select polling booths from Monday March 16 till the eve of the election

Mackay Regional Council

500 Pavilion, Mackay Showgrounds, Milton St, Mackay.

Whitsunday Regional Council

Shop 15, Whitsundays Shopping Centre, 226 Shute Harbour Rd, Cannonvale.

Proserpine Whitsunday Freemason Lodge, 29 Chapman St, Proserpine.

Collinsville Community Centre, Cnr Stanley and Conway Streets, Collinsville.

PCYC Bowen, Cnr Hay St and Queen St, Bowen.

Isaac Regional Council

Dysart Civic Centre, 16 Queen Elizabeth Dr, Dysart.

Note: Only division two residents will be able to use early voting booths.

Opening times:

Monday, March 16, 9am – 5pm

Tuesday, March 17, 9am – 5pm

Wednesday, March 18, 9am – 5pm

Thursday, March 19, 9am – 5pm

Friday, March 20, 9am – 5pm

Monday, March 23, 9am – 6pm

Tuesday, March 24, 9am – 6pm

Wednesday, March 25, 9am – 6pm

Thursday, March 26, 9am – 6pm

Friday, March 27, 9am – 6pm