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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Election: Only half of those eligible voted

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VOTERS turned out, on Saturday, to vote for a new Division Two councillor.

Only 2,426 Division Two residents gathered at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre to cast their votes for a new councillor.

The by-election was called to replace Al Grundy, who ceased being a councillor, on October 14, following his resignation.

According to the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ), there were 4,155 people enrolled to vote, meaning the 2,426 people who voted only made up 58.39 per cent of the potential votes.

Final results are pending, while the ECQ finalises counting of the preferential votes.

At the time the Whitsunday News went to print (on Tuesday, December 6), Clay Bauman was in the lead with 840 votes, which is 36.29 per cent of the votes counted.

Andrew Camm was at 27.04 per cent, with 626 votes, while Christopher Harvey was at 21.24 per cent, with 494 votes.

And Dan Popovich was at 15.33 per cent, with 355 votes.

Candidate Christopher Harvey said the low turnout was common for the Division Two electorate.

“It’s a shame there was only 59 per cent voter turnout and five per cent informal votes,” Mr Harvey said.

“Sadly, it’s common for Division One and Two to have less than 70 per cent voter turnout. Between division three, four, five and six, it’s normally a good 75 per cent or more voter turnout.”

According to ECQ, 111 people cast an informal vote, meaning one way or another they voted for no one.

Candidate Andrew Camm said he was concerned about the low turnout.

“My concern is, how much interest has the local population got in local government matters?” Mr Camm said.

“If it wasn’t compulsory voting in Australia, how many people would even bother voting?

“The big thing that I saw was that the focus in this campaign was all on Division One issues, like the high-rise and carparking, and maybe that’s why Division Two people didn’t turn up.”

Discussions around how adequately the community was informed of the election have also arisen.

“The whole election was very poorly marketed by the council,” Mr Camm said.

“The general public didn’t even know what was going on.”

Cannonvale State School P&C President Sabrina Mitchell said she received multiple phone calls from people in the area who were unsure where to vote and if they were required to vote.

A local government election is run by the Electoral Commission of Queensland and that includes informing the community of the details of the election.

Council did share the ECQ social media posts in the lead-up to the election.   

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