Queenslanders forced to vote in person or face fines

Queensland council elections are being today despite outrage as COVID-19 continues to ravage Australia.

Queensland has closed its borders in a bid to stop the deadly virus and the government announced strict "social distancing" policies, which Queenslanders fear are being ignored at the voting booth.

 

Voters line up at the Indooroopilly pre-polling booth for the Brisbane City Council elections on Friday. Picture: Darren England/AAP
Voters line up at the Indooroopilly pre-polling booth for the Brisbane City Council elections on Friday. Picture: Darren England/AAP

 

Queensland's polling booths opened at 8am today and will close at 6pm for local government elections and by-elections in the state electorates of Bundamba and Currumbin.

 

With phone lines overloaded and postal votes already closed, it appears many Queenslanders will have to vote in person or risk getting a $133.45 fine.

 

Health advice for coronavirus is that there is higher chance of the virus spreading if you're in face-to-face contact with someone for at least 15 minutes.

About 570,000 people applied for postal votes before the deadline on March 16 but thousands said they did not receive them.

The Queensland Electoral Commission told those people they could vote in person today and that physical distancing and other precautions were being taken.

Sausage sizzles have been cancelled and the government has advised voters to bring their own pen.

Electoral Commission of Queensland social distancing for COVID-19 is seen at a Toowoomba Regional Council local government election voting booth. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Electoral Commission of Queensland social distancing for COVID-19 is seen at a Toowoomba Regional Council local government election voting booth. Picture: Kevin Farmer

Many people have taken to social media saying they would rather cop the fine than risk getting infected.

Calls to delay the poll, or provide for people to postal vote after election day, have increased.

The New South Wales government delayed its local government elections, due in September. But Queensland was following its own medical advice.

Originally published as Queensland's 'idiot' election decision


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