The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) says postal vote applications for the 2020 State general election open on Monday 14 September and close on Friday 16 October.
Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said the option to apply for a postal vote weeks before the start of the election period, will support electors who may not want to vote in person due to COVID-19.
“The ECQ is working to ensure Queensland electors have every opportunity to vote for their representative in the next Parliament,” Mr Vidgen said.
“Usually postal vote applications open with the issue of the writ, which begins the election period.
“However, with COVID-19 still a factor, we anticipate strong interest in postal voting just as we saw in March’s local government elections where around 570,000 electors applied.
“While electors can apply for a postal vote on the ECQ website or by phoning the ECQ’s call centre (1300 881 665) from Monday 14 September, we can’t mail the ballot papers until after candidate nominations close in mid-October.
“We remind electors who applied for a postal vote in March and want to postal vote in October, they need to apply again,” he said.
The ECQ is also establishing special postal voting arrangements for residents of certain aged care facilities which would usually receive a mobile polling service as a ‘declared institution’.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and to protect vulnerable residents, the ECQ is unable to provide this service for this election. However, the ECQ will streamline the postal vote process for these facilities, to make sure it is easy for residents to vote by post if that is their preference.
Mr Vidgen said electors can be assured ECQ is ready to deliver a COVID-safe State general election with its Statement of Intent outlining the election’s delivery principles.
“We are planning for an election period with two weeks of extended early voting days and hours, including voting on Saturday 24 October as well as election day voting between 8am and 6pm on Saturday 31 October,” he said.
“To ensure voting in person can be as streamlined as possible, we ask electors to ‘plan the way they’ll have their say’.
“That means planning their vote, choosing where and when they’ll vote, staying 1.5 metres apart, using hand sanitiser and bringing their own pen or pencil.
“The ECQ continues to take the advice of the Chief Health Officer in safely managing voting in Queensland.
“It’s important to note that due to everyone’s careful adherence to health advice during the March local government elections, there was no subsequent spike in COVID-19 infections,” he said.