‘Extraordinary’: 60k Coast residents cast early vote
The usual spectacle of a state election day will be subdued with thousands of Sunshine Coast residents already casting their vote.
Electoral Commission Queensland data shows more than 20 per cent - or 63,750 - of residents enrolled on the Coast had already pre-polled as of Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, 23 per cent of Coast voters applied for postal votes.
Electoral Commission of Queensland deputy commissioner Wade Lewis said it was a trend seen across Queensland ahead of the October 31 state election.
Measures implemented at the March Local Government elections, such as social distancing and hand sanitising, have carried through to this election.
But Mr Lewis said this time around, it was much more "normal".
"Compared to March, it's a far more normal election event, with how to vote cards being handed out and candidates and volunteers being here at the booths," he said.
Mr Lewis said there had been a "huge take-up" of early and postal voting.
"We have some electorates where a third of people have applied for postal votes, which is extraordinary because there's usually about 10 per cent," he said.
Concerns about the global health pandemic led to a large number of people not voting for the first time in the council elections, with about 22,000 first time non-voters on the Coast.
Mr Lewis said the same was not expected this time around.
ECQ data shows thousands of residents have voted early, with the Maroochydore electorate recording the largest number of early voters so far with 10,622.
As of Tuesday there were 10,618 early votes in Noosa and 8201 in Kawana.
Extra staff have been employed at each polling booth with the aim to move people in and out within of booths within three to five minutes.
Mr Lewis said the high take-up of postal votes could delay results being called, depending on when the votes are received by the commission.
He said those who have applied for a postal vote can vote early or on election day instead if they were concerned about posting their votes in time.
The commission is working closely with Australia Post, and has established two postal vote processing hubs in Brisbane and Townsville to speed up the process.
An unofficial count will begin on Saturday night, with early and postal votes counted first and the official count will begin on Sunday. s
For those voting on Saturday, the "democracy sausages" and cake stalls will return to polling booths.