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Local Government Association of Queensland calls for extension of pre-polling
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has asked the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) to consider opening pre-polling on Sunday to ensure as many Queenslanders as possible can have their say early, ahead of the March 28 local government elections.
The Association has also asked for consideration to be given to bringing forward pre-polling in those regional areas where it has yet to begin.
LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam said the latest ECQ figures showed Queenslanders were making the most of the extended voting hours with more than 400,000 casting their vote as of 5pm on Thursday and more expected to vote today and on Saturday.
A further 540,000 people had applied for a postal vote by the March 16 deadline.
“That’s almost 30 per cent of all Queenslanders registered to vote at the council elections,” Mr Hallam said.
“Allowing Sunday voting and fast-tracking pre-polling in regional centres where possible would ensure as many people as possible can cast their vote early.”
Mr Hallam also welcomed Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young’s endorsement of precautions being taken by the ECQ to ensure the community’s safety as they cast their vote.
“The risk of contracting COVID-19 at a polling location is low... people will be frequently entering and exiting the environment; spending little time in static close contact, which reduces the risk of spread of COVID 19,” Dr Young wrote in a recent letter to the Department of Premier and Cabinet regarding actions being taken by the ECQ to protect voters.
Mr Hallam said the LGAQ understood the community’s concern amid the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
“Community welfare is the primary concern of all 77 Queensland councils, and it is important that our communities can count on a strong and stable local government system as we navigate these uncertain times.
“The LGAQ has been raising with the State and the ECQ the need to ensure voters are protected and can have confidence these elections will be delivered safely.
“We are pleased to see the sensible measures that have been put in in place to protect voters, including extending early voting hours and the new legislative provisions to manage any risks as they unfold.
“At this stage, the best advice continues to be to proceed with the elections but with enhanced measures to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and the community more broadly.
“We encourage all to take advantage of these measures so we can focus on managing our local communities through these unprecedented times.
“The local government elections should proceed on March 28.”
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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