ELECTION EXPERT: Returning officer Ken Garner.
ELECTION EXPERT: Returning officer Ken Garner. Tanya Easterby

Poll officer: voting is compulsory

DON'T be fooled by the word "optional".

Voting is absolutely compulsory in mayoral and state elections.

But with two election campaigns going at once, overlapping voter and candidate deadlines, and different voting methods, confusion is to be expected.

Returning officer for both polls, Ken Garner, referred inquiries to the Electoral Commission of Queensland website, where it is made clear that voting is compulsory, under an optional preferential system.

In each of the two elections, voters are advised to vote for their Number 1 preferred candidate, with the option of allocating second, third and other preference votes as they see fit - and that is the only optional thing about it..

Postal voting is possible in the State Election, but is the only way to vote in the mayoral by-election..

Premier Campbell Newman announced the January 31 State Election and writs were issued last Tuesday.

Would-be candidates must nominate by noon today at the ECQ website or with returning officer Ken Garner at 11 Tozer St, Gympie.

People who may be away on polling day can lodge a postal ballot from now until 7pm on Wednesday, January 28.

Pre-poll voting in person opens next Monday at 9am and is available until 6pm Friday, January 30.

Electoral visitor applications are open until 7pm on January 28, with voting from 9am tomorrow to 6pm on polling day, January 31.

In-person booth voting will take place at polling booths across the Gympie electorate from 8am to 6pm on polling day and postal ballots must be returned to arrive with the returning officer by 6pm, February 10.

Deadlines

Mayoral by-election

Friday, 5pm: deadline for voter enrolment updates

Monday noon: close of candidate nominations

Tuesday, January 20, 10am: draw for order of candidates on ballot

Jan 23: mailout of ballot material to voters

February 7: polling day

Deadlines

State election

Today noon: Close of candidate nominations

January 28, 7pm: close of postal pre-poll voting January 30 6pm: close of in person pre-poll

January 31 (polling day) 6pm: voting closes

February 10: cut-off for return of postal votes

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