Council candidates make landmark election day call
NO ELECTION campaign volunteers will attend any of the Redlands' pre-polling booths following a landmark decision made by candidates this evening.
Redland City Council mayor and candidate herself Karen Williams lead a meeting with all 30 fellow candidates to discuss the health impacts of allowing campaign volunteers to descend on the city's three polling booths in the lead up to election day while coronavirus continues to spread across communities.
The volunteers would have been responsible for distributing tens of thousands of how to vote cards at polling booths.
Upon exiting the meeting tonight, Cr Williams told Redlands Community News each candidate has agreed to the suggestion in the interest of public health.
They will tonight sign an agreement outlining the terms of the plan which could pave the way for a similar decision on election day itself.
Cr Williams said the unprecedented agreement opened the floor for other council candidates to have the same discussion.
"We are living in unprecedented times at the moment," she said.
"A lot of people have contacted me about how they are going to vote."
She said the decision was a "wise" move by candidates and would ultimately help protect the region's large aging population - who also represent a large portion of volunteers during election campaigns.
She said the group would meet again next week to discuss how the change had gone and whether it might be replicated on election day itself.
"It's really a big leap of faith," she said.
The significant decision follows a call earlier today from mayoral candidate Claire Richardson who said candidates and their volunteers should not be permitted in and around polling stations in order to avoid large crowds.
She also suggested distribution of how to vote cards and other material not be permitted at polling stations, to minimise the risk of infection transmission.
"Adopting these measures will assist in providing a level playing field for all candidates in and around the polling stations," she said.
Earlier today Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe welcomed early voters to the polls, saying extra measures had been put in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus at polling stations.
He said voters were encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil with them and said extra cleaning of facilities would take place at each booth.