Voting changes put choice of mayor back in voters' hands

GLADSTONE Regional Council elections are set for a massive shake-up, with proposed government changes putting the power of who is elected firmly back into voters' hands.

Mayors and councillors will no longer be able to rely on their in-chamber popularity and the size of their war chests to secure a seat on council based on the current first-past-the-post system.

Currently, voters are required to list their number one preference for mayor when casting their vote.

However, under a suite of electoral reforms introduced into State Parliament, people will be able to vote for their number one mayoral candidate in preference order.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli on Wednesday said the changes surrounding preferential voting when electing a mayor was a win for communities.

"It is not fair that people only have the opportunity to vote for one person," he said.

"In the same way I do not think we should be forcing people to have to preference, you should not be excluding them from exercising their right if they wish to.

"People should be able to choose who they like the most and indicate who they like the least."

Mayor Gail Sellers said preferential voting would make a difference to the result, particularly when the votes were close.

"I've never been elected under a preferential system - I would need to look at how it all works," Cr Sellers said.

Other changes under the proposal include increasing the penalty for electoral fraud from one year to seven years in jail and requiring voters to produce identification when casting their vote.

The proposed changes have been referred to the LNP-dominated Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee, where it is expected to be given the green light.

CHANGES:

  • Council can choose its CEO
  • Candidates to register how-to-vote cards
  • Postal vote option to all registered voters
  • Electoral fraud penalty from one year to seven years in jail
  • Voters to produce ID when voting

Do you support first past the post or optional preferential voting?

This poll ended on 19 June 2014.

Current Results

First past the post: It's simpler

38%

Optional: You can choose who you least like

21%

First past post: Less likely to have teams

8%

Optional: Best candidate should be choice of most

31%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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