Queensland local government election 2016: Postal voting begins

Voting in the March 19 election for Queensland Mayors and councillors, and a referendum on fixed four-year terms for the State Government, begins this week as the first ballot papers are mailed to electors in council areas holding full postal vote elections.

Across Queensland's 77 councils, 1,787 people have nominated as candidates.

However, the election for the Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor and councillors has been postponed to April 16, following the death of Mayor Steve Jones after close of nominations.

Lockyer voters will still vote in the referendum on March 19, but will vote by postal ballot for the Mayor and councillor positions.

Pre-polling and postal voting open to all electors

Most electors in the state will vote in person at polling booths on polling day or before.

Need to know: when and how to vote

Pre-polling begins on March 7, and this is the second local government election where pre-polling is open all electors.

Also, this is the first local government quadrennial elections where electors do not need to provide a reason to cast a postal vote.

In the past an elector had to declare they could not get to the polling booth on polling day and supply reasons why not.

To apply for a postal vote visit www.ecq.qld.gov.au or call 1300 881 665.

Electors in the 20 shire and regional councils that have chosen to have a full postal ballot will automatically receive ballot papers by mail without needing to apply, unless their enrolment details have changed after the official close of rolls on February 12.

In this case, electors are required to apply to the Electoral Commission of Queensland for ballot material.

Some Mayors re-elected unopposed

There are a number of councils where the incumbent Mayor or councillors will be re-elected unchallenged.

In eight councils — Aurukun, Burke, Isaac, Lockhart River, Mareeba, Quilpie, Richmond and Winton — the current mayor will be re-elected unopposed.

In 10 councils there is one division that is uncontested, while in the Gold Coast City Council, Isaac and Torres Strait Island Council, two divisions are uncontested.

In the Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council, near Weipa in the Gulf of Carpentaria, all four councillors have been re-elected unopposed.

To divide or not divide

Across the state there are two types of internal boundaries for local governments — divided and undivided.

There are 23 local governments that are split into divisions, electing one councillor for each division using the optional-preferential voting system.

The other 54 councils will elect a set number of councillors to represent the whole of the local government, and will use the first-past-the-post voting system.

Electors can apply for a postal vote if they are unable to attend a pre-polling centre or a polling booth on election day.

Applications can be made online or by telephoning 1300 882 665.

In person pre-polling opens at 9:00am on March 7 at designated pre-polling centres in local government areas.

Opening hours and days will vary between local governments, and voters will need to check locally or visit the Electoral Commission of Queensland website.

Councillors and Mayors are elected for a four-year fixed term, and are paid according to the category of local government.

The annual remuneration for councillors (from July 1, 2016) ranges from $49,819 for a category 1 council up to $141,791 for Category 8 — Gold Coast City Council.

Brisbane City Council is under a different salary system.

Source: ABC News

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