Sitting MPs luck out on ballot draw in Burdekin, Whitsunday, Warrego

Record number of candidates for 2020 state election

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According to the Electoral Commission of Queensland, postal votes are being sent out this week but due to the large number of applications, will be mailed progressively.

According to the Electoral Commission of Queensland, postal votes are being sent out this week but due to the large number of applications, will be mailed progressively.

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There is no shortage of choice for voters in the upcoming state election, with a record 12 political parties and 597 candidates listed by the time nominations had closed on the weekend.

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Sitting MPs haven't fared well in ballot positioning in two crucial North Queensland electorates following the ballot draw that took place upon the close of nominations on the weekend.

The LNP's Dale Last is sixth on the ballot for the seat of Burdekin, positioned below candidates for the Animal Justice Party and The Greens, as well as the ALP's Mike Brunker, Katter's Australian Party's Sam Cox, and Pauline Hanson's One Nation candidate Clive Remmer.

The two candidates that have fared worse than Mr Last, the opposition spokesman on natural resources and northern Australia, are Benjamin Wood, representing Clive Palmer's United Australia Party, and North Queensland First candidate Carolyn Moriarty.

NQFirst leader Jason Costigan is not positioned favourably in his ballot draw for the seat of Whitsunday, in second-last place in front of only the KAP's Ciaron Paterson.

LNP rival Amanda Camm is second on the Whitsunday ballot.

At the other end of the state, the LNP's Ann Leahy, who is aiming for her third term in the seat of Warrego, is second-last on that ballot, ahead of perennial ALP rival Mark O'Brien.

KAP's Warrego candidate Rick Gurnett has first place on the ballot.

It underlines the fact that there will be no shortage of choice for voters in the upcoming state election, with a record 12 political parties and 597 candidates listed by the time nominations had closed on the weekend.

That's 144 more candidates than ran in 2017.

The ALP, the LNP and the Queensland Greens will have a candidate in each of the 93 electorates across the state, while Pauline Hanson's One Nation will field 90 candidates.

Some 55 candidates are standing for Clive Palmer's United Australia Party while voters will have Katter's Australian Party candidates in 13 electorates.

North Queensland First, created late last year by Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan after he was expelled from the LNP, will field five candidates in northern electorates.

The Informed Medical Options Party, which ran in the 2019 federal election and which believes medical freedoms in Australia are at risk, has candidates standing in 31 electorates.

Along with 69 non-endorsed or independent candidates, the Legalise Cannabis Qld Party has 23 candidates, the Civil Liberties and Motorists Party has 16, the Animal Justice Party is running 13 candidates, and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party is standing three candidates.

A list of all candidates is available on the ECQ website in ballot paper order.

Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said the printing of ballot papers had begun following the ballot paper order draw, and that also meant postal votes had started to go out to electors who have applied for them.

"Postal votes will start being sent from October 12, but due to the large number of applications to date, ballot material will be sent progressively," he said.

"Once an elector receives their envelope, we urge them to act immediately and vote, sign, witness and send their envelope back to the ECQ.

"For postal votes to be included in the count they must be back to the ECQ by November 10 at the very latest, so getting them in the mail sooner, is better."

Voting is full preferential voting, meaning that every box on the ballot paper must be numbered in order of preference, as was the case in the 2017 state election.

Mr Vidgen said the large number of candidates in this election would also have an impact on the time taken to count and there may be a more complex and time-consuming distribution of preferences, especially where there is a large number of candidates contesting the seat.

He said the ECQ was proud to have safely delivered the 2020 local government elections under very challenging circumstances and in line with the Chief Health Officer's guidelines without having any COVID-19 infections resulting from in-person voting.

"Elections are complex, and the impact of COVID-19 has created an additional level of complexity," he said.

"As we did during the local government elections, we will incorporate COVID-safe practices, expand early voting days and hours, as well as cater for an increased interest in postal voting.

"The ECQ is dedicated to ensuring that in October, Queenslanders can vote for their state representatives as easily, safely and conveniently as possible."

Electors have the option of voting before election day at early voting centres in each electorate, from Monday, October 19, and the ECQ will deliver remote area polling to electors in the Cook electorate, which includes remote areas and islands, some accessible only by air or sea.

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