Voters slam ‘ludicrous’ postal vote delay

 

Angry Queenslanders who registered early for postal votes but didn't receive their ballot papers until at least four days after the October 31 election are demanding answers over the bungle.

Evy and Nick Mandikos of New Farm are among up to 100,000 people across the state left waiting for papers to arrive in time.

"It's ludicrous and plain hopeless," said Mrs Mandikos, who votes in the seat of McConnell, held by Grace Grace.

The couple registered for postal voting on September 14 but only received their papers on November 3.

Evy and Nick Mandikos, both 76, of New Farm, are among many Queenslanders who failed to receive their postal votes until days after the October 31 state election. Picture: Tara Croser.
Evy and Nick Mandikos, both 76, of New Farm, are among many Queenslanders who failed to receive their postal votes until days after the October 31 state election. Picture: Tara Croser.

Postal votes have until November 10 to be returned to the Queensland Electoral Commission but must have been filled out before 6pm on October 31 to be counted.

The Mandikos' ballot papers were sent on October 30, forcing the senior citizens to vote in person, despite concerns about COVID-19.

"I could have lied and said it arrived before October 31 and filled it out and sent it back, but I'm not that kind of person," Mrs Mandikos, 76, said.

"But what's to stop others from voting twice essentially or not at all?"

 

 

 

Mrs Mandikos was contacted by a staffer from Ms Grace's office last week to see if the postal votes had arrived "because there have been lots of complaints about missing papers".

"He told me I should go to a booth on the actual day or go for early voting, which was fine for me because I am mobile and have transport, but what about other people left hanging?," she said.

"You'd think after the March municipal elections (where the QEC came under fire for limited online updates) they'd have got their act together instead of blundering on."

A Queensland Electoral Commission spokeswoman said 100,000 of the record 900,000 postal vote applicants had voted in person (or by phone).

"If someone did not receive their postal vote in time to vote before 6pm on election day, they will not receive a 'failure to vote' notice," she said.

The postal votes of Evy and Nick Mandikos, which were posted on October 30, and didn’t arrive until November 3. Picture: Tara Croser
The postal votes of Evy and Nick Mandikos, which were posted on October 30, and didn’t arrive until November 3. Picture: Tara Croser

Postal vote printing began after the ballot order draw on October 11, and all had been printed and lodged with Australia Post by October 21, she said.

An Australia Post spokesman declined to elaborate on the delayed delivery.

"Postal ballots were prioritised through our network to reach their destination and the community has until November 10 to return completed ballots to the ECQ," he said.

"We work hard every time there is an election to ensure the successful delivery and return of postal ballots across all areas."

As of yesterday (Thursday), only 78 per cent of postal votes had been returned to the ECQ, with 160,000 still outstanding.

 

Electorates with the lowest returns included Traeger (54%), Gregory (60%), Rockhampton (65%), Whitsunday and Gladstone (each 66%), Surfers Paradise (67%), Mirani and Mackay (both 68%), and Bonney (69%).

The ECQ spokeswoman said all returned votes would be checked to ensure they were correctly dated and electors had not already voted.

Originally published as Voters slam 'ludicrous' postal vote delay


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