The voting centre at Gladstone South State School today.
The voting centre at Gladstone South State School today.

Election Day: A strange campaign comes to an end

UPDATE: 10:00pm

Final update for tonight.

The preliminary count numbers for the mayoral race are still at about 15 per cent with Matt Burnett on 74.26% (4281 votes) and Michael Fearns on 25.74% (1484 votes)

There have been 5765 (94.94%) formal votes and 307 informal (5.06%).

We'll be back with news from the official count tomorrow morning. 

Thanks for joining us.

EARLIER: 9:10pm

Still no news for the 21 candidates vying for eight available positions on Council and the numbers in the mayoral race are virtually the same. 

We're up to just under 15 per cent of the count with Matt Burnett on 74.26 per cent and Michael Fearns 25.74 per cent. 

More to come. 

EARLIER: 8:20pm 

A quick note on what to expect from here. 

Tallying for tonight's unofficial preliminary count is expected to stop at around 10pm. 

At this stage, votes are usually counted at low volume early voting centres.

Postal votes, telephone votes and votes at medium and high-volume early voting centres are generally not counted. 

The official count begins tomorrow morning and all preliminary counts will be counted again.

Declarations are made as soon as it's mathematically impossible for the result to change.

More to come. 

EARLIER: 7:40pm

Very early numbers for the Gladstone mayoral race are starting to filter through.

Just under 9 per cent of votes have been tallied in tonight's unofficial preliminary count. 

Incumbent Matt Burnett is sitting on 74.23 per cent with challenger Michael Fearns at 25.77 per cent. 

No numbers yet for prospective councillors. 

ECQ is conducting a preliminary count tonight before the official count begins tomorrow morning.

More to come. 

EARLIER: 6:00pm 

There were almost as many voters during the 2020 pre-poll period than throughout the entire 2016 council election in the Gladstone region.  

At the close of poll yesterday, 32,874 people had been marked off. 

Just over 33,000 votes were cast during the 2016 council election with a turnout of 81.8 per cent. 

Polls have now closed and an initial count is expected to begin shortly.

More to come. 

EARLIER: 5:30pm 

A total of 723,544 people have been marked off as voting in council elections across the state as of 5:10pm. 

Polls will close at 6pm with an initial count to begin soon after. 

Early indications of who will serve on the Gladstone Regional Council are expected tonight. 

More to come. 

EARLIER: 3:45pm

Election fanfare was swapped for safe social distancing as those yet to cast their vote in the 2020 Gladstone Regional Council elections took the last opportunity to do so.

As of about 3pm, 577,000 people had voted in person across the state since booths opened at 8am.

Numbers were down at many polling centres around the area and the absence of campaigners handing out election material made for an unusually subdued Election Day.

Some voters in Gladstone were disappointed the usual food stalls were missing, while others said the elections should have been called off all together.

Scott Stanton-Cook's children go to Gladstone South State School and he said he had never seen the polling booths this quiet..

"It's a bit 'how's it going' with corona, I'm a bit sceptical," he said.

Mr Stanton-Cook and his wife Tina were disappointed the usual cake sale wasn't on.

Bruce Little also voted at Gladstone South and said that although the COVID-19 health emergency was "a bit scary", it was good elections went ahead to maintain a sense of normality.

Wayne Vebelfletzer said the election should have been postponed due to coronavirus.

Michael Currie agreed, saying there were ways around it.

Wendy and David McKay said voting was "very quick and very quiet".

"Hopefully the right people get in and keep our town good," Wendy said.

As of 10.30am yesterday, 19,935 voters had been marked off from a total of 41,313 enrolled in the Gladstone region.

The Electoral Commission Queensland expects the declaration process to take longer than usual due to the unprecedented number of postal votes and enforced social distancing measures.

Yesterday it reported that approximately 120,000 of the 570,000 postal vote ballots had been returned across the state.

It's understood that the large number of early voters will not have a bearing on the speed of count.

ECQ will commence a preliminary count tonight before the official count begins on Sunday Morning.

Initial results are expected to begin filtering through from 6pm.

More to come.

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