Queenslanders forced to vote in person or face fines
Queensland council elections are being today despite outrage as COVID-19 continues to ravage Australia.
Queensland has closed its borders in a bid to stop the deadly virus and the government announced strict "social distancing" policies, which Queenslanders fear are being ignored at the voting booth.
Queensland's polling booths opened at 8am today and will close at 6pm for local government elections and by-elections in the state electorates of Bundamba and Currumbin.
With phone lines overloaded and postal votes already closed, it appears many Queenslanders will have to vote in person or risk getting a $133.45 fine.
Our call centre is receiving an unprecedented volume of calls this morning. Please be patient as we are working hard to answer your calls.— ECQ (@ECQInfo) March 27, 2020
Health advice for coronavirus is that there is higher chance of the virus spreading if you're in face-to-face contact with someone for at least 15 minutes.
About 570,000 people applied for postal votes before the deadline on March 16 but thousands said they did not receive them.
The Queensland Electoral Commission told those people they could vote in person today and that physical distancing and other precautions were being taken.
Sausage sizzles have been cancelled and the government has advised voters to bring their own pen.
Many people have taken to social media saying they would rather cop the fine than risk getting infected.
I’ve offered to pay the fine for my parents to not vote. A bargain in my opinion for a 71yo 👴🏻 and 66yo 👵🏻.— Adam Westerink 🙏💦WASH YOUR HANDS 💦🙏 (@adamwesterink) March 27, 2020
(Note: they had forgotten about the voting today anyway 😀)#election #auspol #QLDelection #qldpol #coronavirusau pic.twitter.com/wGsRTo81Dp
Calls to delay the poll, or provide for people to postal vote after election day, have increased.
The New South Wales government delayed its local government elections, due in September. But Queensland was following its own medical advice.
Originally published as Queensland's 'idiot' election decision
You idiots QLD for allowing voting to go ahead. I rang the phone voting service & it doesn’t work. Wake up & postpone the election. I’m not voting now #QLDelection— Slick (@Slickberger) March 27, 2020
Major events across the world— The homeless Koala (@TweetOfAKoala) March 27, 2020
- NZ , India - complete #lockdown
- Japan cancels Olympics
- Boris Johnson infected
- Europe devastated
- Australia - 👉 goes in election despite warnings - vote or get fined.
..and thats how we descibe a democracy#QLDelection#boycottpolls