ECQ strengthens rules, elections forge on amid pandemic
It WILL be an election day like no other in history as early voting figures surge and strict new measures come into effect to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
The 2020 Qld council elections are this Saturday, but campaigning restrictions and a high percentage of pre-poll and postal voters means the typical ceremony will be all but non-existent.
Candidates and campaigners have been banned from canvassing outside polling centres in the latest bid by the Electoral Commission of Queensland to strengthen protective measures.
The directive was issued over the weekend and follows earlier rules including the banning of handshakes and handing out election material.
How-to-vote information provided by candidates can be displayed inside polling places by ECQ officials.
Local Government minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the new measure would minimise static interaction.
He confirmed that about half a million people across the state had taken advantage of early voting options as of 5pm Friday and more than 540,000 had applied for a postal vote.
Gladstone Regional Council candidate Cr Glenn Churchill handed out more than 2000 flyers across the three early voting centres in the district before the ECQ measures took effect.
Now, in order to adhere to social distancing measures, he's going digital.
"From now you'll see my interactive digital flyer campaign at all booths across the region; voters can simply scan with their phones to get information on the issues that are important to them," he said.
Cr Churchill said the shift toward increasing use of early voting methods had changed elections in recent years, and he expected the trend to continue.
Over the weekend Mr Hinchliffe said the latest advice from Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young was that it was still safe to hold council elections.