VOTE CARD CONFUSION: ‘Implied pressure’ to preference
CONFUSION over voting material guidelines is leading Queensland's peak electoral body to reject voting cards.
Division 9 candidate David Lee raised concerns about "implied pressure" to preference candidates after claiming his draft how-to-vote (HTV) card was rejected.
In a Facebook statement, Mr Lee claimed he was informed by the Queensland Electoral Commission office in Hervey Bay his HTV card could not be registered unless it directed preferences to other candidates.
"There should be no implied pressure to do preference deals to get your HTV card registered," Mr Lee said.
"The practical effect is that the QEC may prohibit the material from being distributed during the election campaign.
"My HTV card is legally compliant and should be registered. I have written to the QEC requesting further information."
The Local Government Act states HTV cards must list "the names of all or some candidates" with a numbered order of voting preferences or "directs and encourages the casting of preference votes".
The Chronicle attempted to contact Mr Lee multiple times before deadline but did not receive a response.
A QEC spokeswoman said they had not received a formal complaint from Mr Lee at the time of publication.
The spokeswoman said HTV cards that listed only one candidate were considered "election material".
"HTV cards must be approved … to provide transparency around any preference deals that are in place," the spokeswoman said.
Other candidates said they had not encountered issues with their cards as they also did not plan to preference votes.
Incumbent Division 9 councillor Stuart Taylor said he supported the idea of optional preferential voting but would not be preferencing candidates on his HTV cards.
"I think in local government, it's important for people do decide how they're going to preference, not candidates," Cr Taylor said.
Candidate Chris Trevillion said he was not going to "back someone else's campaign" by preferencing votes.
"I don't want to put my name to preferences because I don't know the key issues of other candidates," Mr Trevillion said.