Voting headache for polls

WITH two elections, local and state, due in the next few months, voting could be a real headache this year.

This is partly because the next batch of school holidays begins on council election day, March 31.

Because people can vote only at council elections from within the council area where they live, people wanting to make an early start on the school break will have to vote before they go.

This greatly increases the importance of pre-polling and postal votes in determining the result.

Pre-polling, allowing people to vote before they leave the area, is expected to open about two weeks before the poll.

Another complication is that the weekend after is Easter, meaning that any postal votes not counted by then will not be able to be counted until the following Tuesday, potentially delaying the result.

Another difference is that laws governing council elections require that local governments which are divided into separate divisions (or council electorates) are required to have optional preferential voting, allowing voters to vote once for one candidate, for some of the candidates in order of preference or for all candidates in order of preference.

Amid all this, Premier Anna Bligh has to pick a state election date and announce it soon, possibly within days, according to some informed estimates.

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