No-show postal ballots silence Western Downs voters
SCORES of Callide voters didn't get an opportunity to have their say in the Queensland Election because their postal ballots failed to arrive on time.
Re-elected long-running Callide MP Colin Boyce said it was appalling that regional Queensland voters weren't given to opportunity to vote by post, especially considering some lived 100km or more from the closet polling booth.
"These constituents live hours away from the nearest polling booths, have no internet or mobile phone service and were not aware of their option for telephone voting," Mr Boyce said.
"There was simply not enough time allowed for rural and regional voters to receive their votes, with many postal services needing at least 10 days for mail to come from Brisbane.
"Mail delivery takes approximately 10-12 days to reach these constituents, with mail delivered once or twice a week.
"Another 10-12 days must be allowed for the return mail.
"Roads from many of these properties to the nearest town are often unpassable following rain which can also affect delivery times."
Mr Boyce said residents from Chinchilla, Calliope, Gladstone and other towns had made complaints about not receiving their postal ballots prior to Saturday's election.
He said some had since arrive a week late, while others were still to arrive.
After Mr Boyce's office fielded calls from scores of Callide constituents unhappy about postal voting, the MP said he'd written to the Electoral Commission of Queensland outlining their concerns.
"I believe the aged care residents and the rural and regional voters have been forgotten and disadvantaged in the 2020 Queensland State Election," Mr Boyce wrote to ECQ.
"(I'm requesting) a review of the many problems experienced by my constituents, as many of these issues were preventable had their needs been considered."
He also raised the following issues with ECQ:
• Aged care residents/facilities weren't aware in-house polling booths would not be set up this year due to COVID-19.
• Pre-polling booths were costly and excessive.
• There was a lack of toilet facilities at polling booths.
• The candidate nomination date should have been set earlier to allow plenty of time for printing of postal votes and communications from ECQ to be delivered to all voters before the election.
• A lack of communication to voters due to recent cuts at regional news outlets, and the closure of many papers.
If you have been affected, contact Mr Boyce's office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 1800 812 119 or 4845 1100.