Voters queue at Maroochydore Community Centre on election day.
Voters queue at Maroochydore Community Centre on election day.

Voter turnout down as 55,000 people fail to have say

ONLY 76 per cent of voters at most turned out to have their say in the 2020 Sunshine Coast Council election.

Of the 230,440 voters, only about 175,500 at most cast their ballot, with 26,666 people registered for postal votes and 4219 people registered for phone voting, but it was yet to be revealed just how many of those actually voted.

Electoral Commission Queensland figures showed there were 99,984 pre-poll votes cast in the region, while only 44,700 votes were placed in the ballot boxes on election day.

How they voted was also interesting.

As of Tuesday evening, the Electoral Commission Queensland's live tally room showed Mayor Mark Jamieson had secured 56,872 of the 114,743 formal votes cast.

Nearly 58,000 voters opted against the incumbent, backing either Chris Thompson (38,240 votes), Michael Burgess (12,223 votes) or Don Innes (7408 votes), leaving some to ponder how a two-horse race might have played out.

Sunshine Coast local government elections Mountain Creek Primary School: corflutes outside the election booths
Sunshine Coast local government elections Mountain Creek Primary School: corflutes outside the election booths

After 67.18 per cent of votes had been counted in Division 1, incumbent Rick Baberowski had secured 6484 of the 12,976 formal votes cast.

That left 6492 votes which went elsewhere, split across three other candidates, with Jenny Broderick (3800 votes) next best.

After almost 60 per cent of votes counted Division 3 Councillor Peter Cox had a huge lead, having secured 8135 of 12,974 votes cast.

Division 4 incumbent John Connolly was facing a shock loss of his seat, having managed to grab only 4085 of 12,967 formal votes counted so far.

That left 8882 votes directed elsewhere, picked up largely by Joe Natoli (4667 votes).

After almost 29 per cent of the count according to the ECQ live tally room, Division 6 Councillor Christian Dickson had secured 3681 of the 5788 formal votes recorded.

That left 2107 votes gone begging for the incumbent, which were directed to Siobhan Gosper (1364 votes) and Wayne Holly (743 votes).

Sunshine Coast local government elections Mountain Creek Primary School: Voters lining up at the polling booth. Election day votes were less than half of the pre-poll total.
Sunshine Coast local government elections Mountain Creek Primary School: Voters lining up at the polling booth. Election day votes were less than half of the pre-poll total.

Of the 8178 formal votes tallied in Division 7, sitting councillor Ted Hungerford had locked down 3257 votes.

That meant 4921 votes had been given elsewhere, shared by Cam Young (1852 votes), Chris White (1462 votes) and Steve Dickson (1607 votes).

In Division 8 the official tally room showed Cr Jason O'Pray with 2109 of 4396 formal votes trailing Kathryn Hyman (2287 votes).

It was understood vote counts had progressed significantly in several divisions, but those updated counts weren't being reflected on the ECQ's live tally room website.

There were no incumbents in the seats of Division 2, 5, 9 and 10, with the sitting councillors in each retiring.

To-date there had been 19,291 informal votes recorded across the Coast's 10 divisions and in the mayoral count, as many opted to either not turn out at all, or ensured their vote didn't count.

In 2016 there were 160,857 formal votes recorded in the council election.