After weeks of door knocking, political posturing, hard hats and high-vis vests, Queensland’s election day is almost upon us.
While many Queenslanders have already cast their vote, hundreds of thousands will head to the polls tomorrow to have their say on who should hold the state’s top job for the next four years.
Vying to be Premier are Labor’s Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Liberal National Party’s Deb Frecklington, who have gone head to head on jobs, the economy and the state’s border status.
So where can you cast your vote and how can you get your hands on a tasty democracy sausage?
Here’s everything you need to know:
How can I vote?
Early voting closes at 6:00pm today.
If you haven’t voted by then, you will need to cast your vote in person at a regular polling booth before 6:00pm on Saturday.
Queensland has a preferential voting system so you must number all boxes on your ballot for your vote to count.
If you lodged a postal vote, it must be received by the Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) by November 10 for it to be counted.
Telephone voting is also available but only to those who are eligible.
Where can I vote?
About 1,300 polling booths will be open across Queensland.
They can typically be found at schools and community halls in your electorate and are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm.
Here’s a breakdown of the polling centres near you.
Do I have to vote?
Yes, voting is compulsory in Australia and across all three levels of government in Queensland.
Anyone over the age of 18 who is registered on the electoral roll must cast a vote or risk being fined.
The fine for not voting is about $133.
Tens of thousands of Queenslanders failed to vote in the March local government elections due to coronavirus safety concerns.
The ECQ let many of those voters off the hook in regard to fines, but said the same leniency would not be shown after the state election.
Are there any democracy sausages?
You’ll be pleased to know the iconic poll day snags are well and truly back on the table.
During the March local government elections, at the height of the COVID pandemic, sausage sizzles and cake stalls were banned.
But after careful consideration, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has given sausage sizzles the green light as long as fundraisers follow COVID-safe guidelines.
You will be able to get your hands on a tasty democracy sausage at most voting centres on election day.
What if I am interstate?
If you are living outside of Queensland and are enrolled to vote, you need to cast a postal vote.
If you haven’t applied for a postal vote by now, it’s too late — you have today to find an early voting centre or you’ll need to find your nearest polling booth tomorrow.
If you have organised a postal vote and have the documentation handy, fill it out and send it off today so it can be counted in time.
Postal votes must be received by the ECQ by November 10 to be counted.
If you are based overseas, you might be eligible to cast your vote via telephone.
How will coronavirus impact election day?
Dr Young has set some firm ground rules to ensure polling centres operate under a COVID-safe plan.
She has advised voters to:
- Bring your own pen or pencil
- Maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres
- Use the hand sanitiser provided
- Plan your vote in advance
Each voting centre will use contact-tracing registers and undergo frequent cleaning throughout the day.
Queensland’s electoral body expanded postal voting and early voting to cater for the increased demand from Queenslanders eager to get in early and dodge the madding crowds on election day.
A staggering 70 per cent of the state, or 2 million Queenslanders, cast their votes early due to coronavirus concerns — an unprecedented move in Queensland’s electoral history.
The ECQ has warned this influx of early voting might delay the final declaration of results until after November 10.