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Newman's snap election causes widespread voter confusion: Facts here

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Why Newman called an early election: that trend was only going one way.

Campbell Newman's sneaky ruse of calling an election over the summer holidays has caused widespread confusion and the dissemination of misinformation; Michael Amadio sorts the fact from the fantasy.

QUEENSLAND PREMIER CAMPBELL NEWMAN'S DECISION to call a snap election on January 5 for the end of this month has caused a lot of confusion amongst voters. 

It could be argued that this was his exact intention — to catch the Opposition napping as well as a large part of the electorate.

With under two weeks until polling day, not everybody is sure about the situation. There are a number of mistruths circulating on social media concerning enrolment, identification requirements and the Queensland optional preferential voting system.

To remedy this, ABC psephologist Antony Green has published information about enrolment and identification requirements on his blog:

Enrolment

Many people were led to believe that to enrol to vote in time for the Queensland state election on 31 January that they had to be enrolled not later than 5:00 pm on 10 January. While this was the best practice, enrolment is still possible up until the 30 January, the day before the election. 

Anthony Green confirms this on his blog:

'... my information is correct and confirmed with the ECQ. The rolls close at 5pm on Saturday 10 January. However, after the close of rolls, voters who are not on the roll are permitted to lodge an enrolment form until 30 January, and permitted to cast a declaration vote on polling day.'

Identity Requirements

The Newman Government changed the Electoral Act (1992) to require that suitable identification must be presented on polling day when voting.

According to the Queensland Electoral Commission (ECQ) website, approved proof of identity documents are:

  • a current driver licence;
  • a current Australian passport;
  • a Voter Information Letter issued by the Commission;
  • a recent document evidencing electoral enrolment;
  • an identification card issued by the Commonwealth or State evidencing the person’s entitlement to a financial benefit (examples: A Commonwealth seniors health card, health care card, Medicare card, pensioner concession card or repatriation health card);
  • an adult proof of age card issued by the State;
  • a recent account or notice issued by a local government or a public utility provider (examples: a council rates notice, electricity account statement, gas account statement or water bill);
  • a recent account statement, current account card or current credit card issued by a financial institution;
  • a recent account statement issued by a carriage service provider as defined under the CommonwealthTelecommunications Act 1997 (examples: a telephone bill or internet bill);
  • a recent notice of assessment issued under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cwlth)

However, a declaration vote may still be cast if a voter is unable to produce identification.

ECQ is also mailing out proof of identity cards if you are enrolled.

Optional Preferential Voting

Queensland has had an optional preferential voting system since the Goss Government legislated it in 1992.

This system is explained on the ECQ website:

Voters can cast a valid vote by either:

  • expressing a single primary preference for one candidate only (marking only one square, leaving all the others blank)
  • expressing a partial distribution of preferences by voting for some, but not all candidates on the ballot paper (marking some but not all squares)
  • expressing a full distribution of preferences (marking each and every square in order of preference).

What they neglect to mention is that if you do want to fill out preferences, boxes must be marked in numerical order. If in doubt, consult consult one of the many electoral officials in the booths on the day.

This article does not cover absent, postal or pre-poll voting.

Remember, voting is compulsory in Australian elections and so if you don't vote, you may be subject to significant fines — so make your vote count on the 31 January.

Just make sure you don't park in a disabled spot on your way in.

You can follow Mick Amadio on Twitter @fta_oz.

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