Queensland Election : what do i need before i head to the voting booth ?

It has been a short election campaign only 4 weeks and so it is today is election day in Queensland November 25 and there is only one thing left that only you can do - Vote.

With that millions of Queenslanders are off to the polls today to have their say on which party (or parties) will take charge of government for the next three years.

Where do i vote well for those electorates in the Moreton Bay Region we have a complete guide of all 9 electorates via our Primer Page which has all you need to know.

Depends where you live, of course, but a good bet will be your local school, community centre or TAFE campus, just to name a few.

For the rest of queensland yopu should check out this page on the Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) website for a breakdown of electorates and where your closest polling booths will be.

Booths are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm.

Do I need to bring any ID with me?

No, but if you've got it, bring your Voter Information Card with you.

Hopefully you received it — it's the red card that showed up in the letterbox in the past fortnight from the ECQ.

They say it makes voting faster.

If you forget or didn't receive your card, don't stress — you can still vote without it.

What happens at the polling booth?

Follow the signs to the front desk.

If you've got your Voter Information Card, this is where you'll use it.

If not, the polling officials will ask you two questions:

What is your name?

What is your address?

After that, you'll be directed to a booth where you can vote in private.

It's important to read the instructions on the ballot paper before casting your vote.

Place your completed ballot paper in the ballot box as you leave.

Ballot boxes for some Sunshine Coast seats Photo: Make sure you put your vote in the correct ballot box. (Supplied: Electoral Commission of Queensland)

Do I have to vote?

If you're enrolled, yes, otherwise you could be fined up to $126.15.

According to the ECQ website, those who are enrolled to vote but fail to do so will receive an "Apparent Failure to Vote Notice" in the mail.

If you pay promptly you'll only have to pay $63.

However, this notice allows you an opportunity to provide an explanation regarding your personal circumstances on polling day which may have impacted your ability to vote.

A man fills in his vote at the polling booth Photo: Pick the right time of day and you may not even have to line up to vote. (Supplied: Electoral Commission of Queensland)

However, you can receive an infringement notice if:

  • You did not respond to the Apparent Failure to Vote Notice
  • Your reason provided on the Apparent Failure to Vote Notice is not valid or sufficient
  • You have not paid the reduced penalty amount

The infringement notice is accompanied by a request to pay the full penalty amount of $126.15.

You must reply within 28 days from the date the infringement notice is issued.

Failure to pay the infringement notice or provide a valid and sufficient explanation will result in the matter being referred to the State Penalty Enforcement Register (SPER) for further action.

Are there any changes in how we vote?

Yes!

Since 2015 we've moved to a full preferential system.

So you can't just "vote one" for your preferred candidate — instead you must number every box on your ballot paper.

If every square is not numbered, your vote could be deemed informal and may not be counted.

 

An example ballot paper sheet supplied by the Electoral Commission Queensland ahead of the 2017 state election. Photo: Be sure to number all the boxes for your vote to count. (Supplied: Electoral Commission Queensland)

So to make sure your vote counts you must number all candidates in order of your preference. You must:

  • place a 1 in the box beside your first preference;
  • place a 2 in the box beside your second preference;
  • place a 3 in the box beside your third preference; and
  • continue numbering until all of the boxes are numbered

Instructions for completing a formal vote are always on the ballot paper.

Which electorate am I in?

If you need to double check which electorate you're in, you can do so on this ECQ page.

This election, Queensland has four new electorates, which takes the number of seats in State Parliament from 89 to 93.

Many existing seats have changed names or now take in different areas.

The new seats include:

Bancroft, drawn around North Lakes and Deception Bay

Bonney, on the northern Gold Coast

Macalister, based around Logan

Jordan, taking in rapidly growing Springfield, west of Brisbane

Ninderry, on the Sunshine Coast, taking in the suburbs of Bli Bli, Yandina Creek and parts of Coolum, Peregian and Weyba Downs

Hill, taking in the towns of Innisfail and Tully, south of Cairns

A number of electorates have had their names changed:

Mount Isa becomes Traegar

Brisbane Central is renamed McConnel

Sunnybank becomes Toohey

Yeerongpilly becomes Miller

Indooroopilly is now Maiwar

Ashgrove becomes Cooper

Kallangur, north of Brisbane, becomes Kurwongbah

Albert on the Gold Coast is renamed Theodore

Beaudesert is renamed Scenic Rim

I need help at the polling booth — who can I talk to?

The ECQ says you can have a person join you in the polling booth to assist you to place your vote.

This person may act as an interpreter, read and explain the ballot paper instructions, complete the ballot paper according to your instructions, and place the ballot paper in the ballot box.

There's also a full translating and interpreting service available for electors with English as a second language.

You can reach them on 14 14 50.

Remember — don't be afraid to ask for help!

The polling officials will be available to provide assistance should you have any questions.

Where are the best sausage sizzles?

Good question!

The cornerstone of any good polling booth is the fundraising sausage sizzle.

Democracy Sausage will keep you abreast of the locations.

They crowdsource data from Twitter and Facebook and map out locations for your convenience, so if you come across a stall be sure to use the #democracysausage on social media to help spread the word.

How long will it take to count the votes?

That's unknown, but safe to say it will take longer than the 2015 election since we've moved to full preferential voting.

"On Saturday night, a count of first preference votes is done in every polling booth across Queensland," electoral commissioner Walter van der Merwe said.

Polling officials then conduct what's known as notional count between the two candidates the ECQ believes are most likely to win the seat.

It gives an early indication of how preferences will flow.

Polling officials will return to work on Sunday to check the first-preference count.

"Checks are vital because accuracy is paramount and counting votes is a manual, labour-intensive process that requires a lot of concentration," Mr van der Merwe said.

A full distribution of preferences then gets underway.

 

"The distribution of preferences can start at different times in different electorates depending on a range of factors - like whether there are two, three or seven candidates in a seat and how close the race is in each," Mr van der Merwe said.

"In seats where the race is tight a full preference count might not be possible until everyone returns their postal votes and people have up to 10 days after the election to do that."

Also on Sunday, polling officials will count postal votes and votes from declared institutions (for example, nursing homes) and electoral visits.

Will we get a result tonight?

It's unclear.

If one of the major parties is able to claim 47 of the 93 seats on its own right then there's a fair chance we'll know that tonight.

If things go that way we can expect to hear a concession speech from the leader of the party unable to secure enough seats, before crossing to the leader of the party that was able to get the job done.

We'll probably also hear from some of the minor parties as the results become clear.

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