State Election 2020 : This time around the majority of Queenslanders will have already cast their vote
In an unprecedented move, around 2 million Queenslanders are expected to cast their votes early in the upcoming state election due to coronavirus safety fears.
The Queensland Electoral Commission (ECQ) said it initially expected to receive about half a million registered postal votes, but have already received at least a million.
Postal voting is no longer an option after registrations closed last Friday.
Where can I find my early polling station?
From today until Friday, October 30, voters can walk into one of 200 polling booths across the state to have their say in the future leader of the state.
ECQ chief executive Pat Vidgen said the commission had extended early polling hours to cope with the historic numbers of people expected to flood polling booths.
Extended voting hours include four late nights on Tuesday and Thursdays and a second Saturday on October 24.
You can find your nearest early voting centre or polling booth here.
A tsunami of postal votes
Mr Vidgen said he was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of postal votes.
"After two days, we received 92,000 applications for postal votes," Mr Vidgen said.
By mid-last week they had hit the 745,000 mark and it was still growing.
"To put that into context, in 2017 we received in total 360,000 applications," he said.
"And in March this year at the local government election, [we] received 570,000 applications."
Adding in the 1 million early postal votes already received, that leaves about 1.3 million electors to fill in the ballot sheet on election day — just 30 per cent of voters.
What COVID restrictions will apply at polling booths?
Mr Vidgen said people were very concerned about COVID-19 and wanted to spend as little time at a polling booth as possible.
For those planning to vote on election day, the ECQ has asked people to socially distance, use provided hand sanitiser and bring their own pen or pencil to mark off their ballot.
Mr Vidgen said the ECQ was planning for all scenarios and said in the unlikely event of a lockdown due to a major coronavirus outbreak, polling may be adjourned in that area.
"If there was an outbreak throughout the state then we would need to … investigate if we could go to a full postal vote system, or need more time," he said.
Why lodge a postal vote?
To opt for to postal vote may be used if your in the high-risk coronavirus age group.
For most if you already know who you are voting for it will also reduce having to go into the crowds on polling day and fighting your way through all the stalls and all the folk who hand out the how to vote cards."
For a lot of people going to stand in line at schools or churches is not the most ideal in the current covid climate, so the option of pre-polling may be a lot easier,
How will early voting impact election campaigns?
Postal voting and early polling would change the way parties campaign but not how people vote.
We will see a huge surge in these first few days of pre-polling, with these voters likely to be the most tuned in,
This means parties must front end their campaign with big-ticket items to catch early voters.
The old days of building slowly to a crescendo in the last week are over — every day now counts.
Will the influx of early votes delay counting?
The record number of postal votes meant the ECQ was expecting the counting process to be delayed.
Mr Vidgen urged postal voters to fill out their ballot as soon as they received them and send it back straight away.
"In 2017, we had 11 per cent of the vote around 300,000 votes through the post," he said.
"Yet the final declaration after election day took 13 days, in fact on day 12 only half the seat were declared.
"And that was with only 300,000 votes [not a million]".