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20 March, 2020

No more how to vote cards

By Phil Brandel

Candidates and their helpers in Queensland’s local government elections have been directed to stop handing out how-to-vote cards and flyers amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said under new powers introduced in Parliament this week, the Electoral Commission of Queensland had issued the Directive to all candidates to find other ways to display their how-to-vote information.

“Use traditional election-size signs, put them on a table so voters can help themselves, print it on a t-shirt – there are plenty of ways to get the message across without having to get close to people,” he said.

“Let’s face it – it’s 2020 and our candidates are a pretty savvy lot who can use social media and emails.

“The Directive also applies to other election material, including fliers, leaflets and voter information cards.

“And always adhere to Queensland Health guidelines.”

The Directive comes as the State’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young reiterated it was still safe to vote in the council elections on 28 March.

“The risk of contracting COVID-19 at a polling location is low,” Dr Young has advised the ECQ.

“People will be frequently entering and exiting the environment, spending little time in static close contact, which reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19.

“I appreciate the measures being proposed by Electoral Commission Queensland as they should address the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 while allowing important electoral processes to continue.”

Voters still have plenty of time to take advantage of early polling at more than 120 stations across Queensland, which are open today (Friday) and tomorrow from 9am to 5pm.

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