Isolation, coronavirus fears disrupt local election
A SUNSHINE Coast councillor wants postal votes extended amid the coronavirus crisis, with reports the elderly are ringing the Electoral Commission Queensland with hopes of casting a phone vote.
Division 6 councillor Christian Dickson, who is vying for re-election, also questioned how people required to enter self-isolation were expected to get to the ballot box.
Postal votes closed at 7pm on March 16.
Cr Dickson encouraged anyone able to get out to pre-polling stations as he reported anecdotally that there were no lines, hand sanitiser is available and people ready to help you.
Cr Dickson did not support the election being pushed back a year, as suggested by Sunshine Coast Mayor and head of the Local Government Association Queensland boss Mark Jamieson.
Cr Jamieson said the association wanted the elections to proceed on March 28 as planned but in a worst-case scenario, should the State Government decide to call off the election and delay it, councils believed the date should be pushed back to March 27, 2021 "to ensure community certainty in this challenging time".
"There's a lot of candidates like myself who are self-funded," Cr Dickson said.
"We have spent a lot of their own personal savings and they have been heard by the community they have been to forums, they have doorknocked, done their pamphlet delivery.
"Let's have the election, get it out of the way so we can focus back on the community."
Cr Dickson said for the first time in his 14-year experience as a Sunshine Coast councillor, pre-polling had opened up at some locations on the Saturday before the election.
"The key here is the Electoral Commission are trying to give as much flexibility and time as they can, I have never seen this before and it's very unique."