Saturday, 15 August 2020
Candidates banned from handing out, face fines

Election candidates and helpers were directed to stop handing out how-to-vote cards amid the spread of the coronavirus.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland handed down a directive on Friday to make candidates and helpers not shake hands with voters, maintain a 1.5 metre distance from others near the polling stations and minimise the number of people at the booths.

Failure to heed ECQs directive could land candidates with fines up to $1334.50 and ECQ staff were told to be on the lookout.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe told candidates to use traditional election-size signs and put how-to-vote cards on a table.

“There are plenty of ways to get the message across without having to get close to people,” he said.

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

“And always adhere to Queensland Health guidelines.”

The State’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said 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 said.

“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.”