Isaac Regional Council division two candidates Nick Wheeler and Sandy Moffat ran in the 2020 council elections.
Isaac Regional Council division two candidates Nick Wheeler and Sandy Moffat ran in the 2020 council elections. Contributed

ISAAC ELECTION: Results announced for Dysart

>The Isaac candidates who have already won their seat

>Failure to vote today will result in a $133 fine, ECQ warns

WEDNESDAY 9.30AM: DYSART has a new councillor, as cafe owner Sandy Moffat ousts sitting member Nick Wheeler from his Isaac Regional Council seat.

Ms Moffat secured 55.63 per cent of the 1075 votes counted.

While  28.29 per cent of the ballots are still to be counted, last night the Electoral Commission of Queensland announced Ms Moffat had won the division two seat.

Ms Moffat said she was excited to begin her term.

"I'm keen to get our community through COVID-19. Once we're through it we can look to our future," she said.

She thanked her community for their trust and support.

Thursday 2pm: ISAAC votes were updated at midday today, but little has changed.

67.52 per cent of the vote for division two has now been tallied, up from 63.11 per cent last week.

Sandy Moffat is still leading with 55.49 per cent of the vote, equal to about 561 votes.

Nick Wheeler is trailing behind with 44.51 per cent of the vote, equal to about 450 votes.

The division eight count is unchanged, still sitting at 46.41 per cent of the vote counted.

Sunday 3.20pm: Well, little has changed for Isaac since last night if the ECQ website is anything to go by. 

A final result is unlikely to come from Isaac Regional Council's only polling booth today.

Division two candidate Sandy Moffat said she understood counting of the election day ballots had been completed, with only 63.11 per cent of the vote tallied.

"Other than outstanding postal and declaration votes, the count has finished," Ms Moffat said.

"(It) is as accurate as it's going to get at this stage."

Isaac Regional Council division two candidates Nick Wheeler and Sandy Moffat ran in the 2020 council elections.
Isaac Regional Council division two candidates Nick Wheeler and Sandy Moffat ran in the 2020 council elections. Contributed



The Dysart café owner is in the lead so far, edging out the current division two councillor Nick Wheeler by more than 10 per cent.

Ms Moffat sits on 55.57% of the vote, with Mr Wheeler falling behind on 44.43%.

Despite the positive sign, Ms Moffat said the initial results had only made her "more anxious".

"It's a good sign. But anything can change with the postal votes coming through," she said.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland has recorded 961 votes in the preliminary count.

With only 1500 voters in the Dysart electorate, there is only a 107 vote difference between the two candidates.

Saturday

IT'S a region that has just one polling booth and only five candidates across the sprawling electorate but even voting in the Isaac Regional Council has a different feel to it today.

Dysart is the only polling booth and while all candidates are passionate about the potential futures as civic leaders, coronavirus has been front of mind for many.

FIRST RESULTS FOR DIVISION 8

11.15PM: A "technical" issue has delayed local election counting across the state, but a few more results have trickled in for the Isaac Regional Council.

While the race for Division two remains relatively unchanged, the first results are in for Division eight.

Isaac Regional Council division eight candidates Vivienne Coleman, Jennifer Ennis and Karen Hindle ran in the 2020 council elections.
Isaac Regional Council division eight candidates Vivienne Coleman, Jennifer Ennis and Karen Hindle ran in the 2020 council elections. Contributed

Vivienne Coleman has emerged the leader in the contest with 50.85 per cent - or 358 votes - from the 46.41% counted.

It puts her well ahead of fellow candidates Jennifer Ennis with 27.41% or 193 votes, and Karen Lynette Hindle on 21.73%, or 153 votes.

The delays in releasing counts has caused some frustrations on social media with the Electoral Commission Queensland tweeting earlier tonight a technical glitch was to blame for the delay.

It earlier tonight told the Daily Mercury the delay was also due to COVID-19 regulations requiring social distancing for officials counting the ballots.

COVID-19 DELAYS VOTE

9.35PM: AS the results continue to trickle in for Mackay, Electoral Commission Queensland has advised the counting of the votes could take even longer this year.

Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic impact candidate campaigning before crowds hit the polls, but the Daily Mercury understands it will also affect the counting of formal votes.

Social distancing requirements and fear of the virus spreading resulted in more postal votes being cast this year.

ECQ workers also have to keep a distance between each other during the vote count, effectively slowing down the process.

Note: A tweet from the ECQ later said the slower vote count and release was due to a "technical issue".

FIRST RESULTS IN DIVISION 2

8.20PM: WITH more than half the votes counted, Dysart café owner Sandy Moffat is in the lead, beating the current division two councillor Nick Wheeler by more than 10 per cent.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland has recorded 961 votes, 64 per cent of the preliminary count.

Ms Moffat sits on 55.57% of the vote, with Mr Wheeler falling behind on 44.43%.

With only 1500 voters in the Dysart electorate, there is only a 107 vote difference between the two candidates.

WHAT WILL BE, WILL BE

5.15PM: CHEAPER, efficient and less intrusive elections could be the norm if other electorates followed Isaac Regional Council's lead.

Division eight candidate Karen Hindle said the fully postal voting system should be used in every election.

It was not just her concerns about the spread of coronavirus, Ms Hindle said.

"I think you would get more people who would vote," she said.

The switch would benefit shift workers, those unable to attend the ballot box, and isolated communities, Ms Hindle said.

With the entire division voting via the mail, Ms Hindle said the 6pm election day deadline was a little arbitrary.

"Everyone would have voted a week ago," she said.

"Everyone knows how they're going to vote."

"(Results) are going to be day by day. We'll see what happens."

For now, Ms Hindle said she was just going on with her life as the votes were slowly counted.

"There's no point worrying," she said.

"What will be, will be."

WAITING FOR RESULTS

4.40PM: Of all the messages of love and support popping into Jennifer Ennis's inbox, one stood out for the Isaac Regional Council candidate.

The council worker said a message from her colleague wishing her luck was the most meaningful.

"(He was) someone in the room as the idea of running for council was first born," Ms Ennis said.

With voting closing in a few hours, Ms Ennis said she was feeling comfortable with her campaign.

"I'm trying to be positive. I'm trying not to come to any conclusion yet," she said.

"I'll be waiting for 6pm and the results to come through."

But as a fully postal division, Ms Ennis said she would have to sit with her bundle of nerves until April 6.

"I'll have to take up Tai Chi in the meantime," she joked.

While the postal vote count delay was frustrating, Ms Ennis said she preferred it to the chaos of running a campaign during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm also pleased for the community that we're on full postal," Ms Ennis said.

"People are able to make their decision in their own time."

Nebo resident Jennifer Ennis is running for the division eight seat on Isaac Regional Council in the March 28 election.
Nebo resident Jennifer Ennis is running for the division eight seat on Isaac Regional Council in the March 28 election.

'NERVOUS AND EXCITED'

4.10PM: ELECTION Day nerves were not going to stop St Lawrence pig farmer Vivienne Coleman from getting her chores done.

The Isaac Regional Council division eight candidate was fixing her fences on election day.

As one of a few completely postal voting electorates, Ms Coleman said division eight always missed out on the election day fanfare.

But this year, she said that was a good thing.

"Those divisions who aren't fully postal, it's going to be difficult  for them," Ms Coleman said.

Like 1500 other division eight voters, Ms Coleman's vote was dropped in the letterbox without any ceremony.


"I didn't do anything to mark the occasion," Ms Coleman said.

The candidate was told a third of residents' votes had already arrived at the Electoral Commission of Queensland's Isaac office.

"But there's still a lot who have not received their vote in the mail," she said.

More than 10 households had contacted Ms Coleman directly about not receiving their vote.

"And they're just the ones who have contacted me," she said.

"It's disappointing."

With so many government resources online, Ms Coleman said it was ridiculous that "we still have to vote these days with a ballot or a booth".

If residents have not received their postal ballot they should contact the ECQ.

As division eight votes trickle in via the post, Ms Coleman said it would be a long and nerve-wracking week as the votes are counted.

"I'm nervous and I'm excited. If I didn't feel excited I wouldn't have pride in the campaign I've done," she said.

St Lawrence resident Vivienne Coleman has announced she will contest the division eight seat on Isaac Regional Council.
St Lawrence resident Vivienne Coleman has announced she will contest the division eight seat on Isaac Regional Council. Contributed

ELECTION LIKE NO OTHER

3.30PM: HE HAS faced two elections in his long time on Isaac regional Council, but division two candidate Nick Wheeler said today was unlike any other.

"It's absolute turmoil with everything that has developed around it," Mr Wheeler said.

With candidates and their volunteers barred from going to the voters, Mr Wheeler said he was not sure how many people were at the Dysart Civic Centre polling booth today.

Isaac Regional Council candidate Nick Wheeler
Isaac Regional Council candidate Nick Wheeler Contributed

Like many residents Mr Wheeler said he voted early, casting his ballot on Tuesday.

"There's been a steady stream of people over the week," he said.

With only hours left until voting closes, Mr Wheeler said he wasn't nervous.

"It will be what it will be," he said.

"I don't count my chickens before they hatch."

 

 

Isaac Regional Council's division two candidate Sandy Moffat
Isaac Regional Council's division two candidate Sandy Moffat

 

CORONAVIRUS MAIN CONCERN FOR CANDIDATE

3PM: After months of preparation and campaigning, Sandy Moffat said the election was the last thing on her mind.

"I haven't thought too much about the election,' Ms Moffat admitted.

The candidate for Isaac Regional Council's division two seat said she was preoccupied with preparing her small business for any coronavirus lockdown.

The Dysart cafe owner said the past days had been extremely difficult.

"It's been a really tough week; emotionally, mentally and financially," Ms Moffat said.

"I like to be prepared but with things changing every day, it's hard."

"We've got some tough decisions to make."

Her cafe, Java Jones Java Joes coffee house will be forced into lockdown following health advice during the coronavirus pandemic.

With some of her employees standing by her side for years, Ms Moffat said it was a heartbreaking decision to close.

"I did separation certificates yesterday and I cried for hours," she said.

But the chaos meant she was extremely calm on the big day.

"I'm not nervous at all," Ms Moffat said.

Ms Moffat skipped the election day fanfare, and voted early on Monday.

And she said she had encouraged others to do the same.

With only a quarter of Isaac region residents heading to the polls, and most sending in their ballot via the post, Ms Moffat said the region was lucky to avoid some of the crowds at other election centres.

"People have been able to stay home," she said.

While candidates are banned from attending polling booths, Ms Moffat said she has driven past the Dysart Civic Centre a few times on other errands today.

"The town is very quiet. There's not a lot of traffic and not a lot of movement," she said.


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