It’s Election Day – happy voting! Picture: Melanie Whiting
It’s Election Day – happy voting! Picture: Melanie Whiting

No more sleeps: Four hotly-contested races under way

Happy Election Day!

This has felt like the longest campaign ever.

With a fixed election date going forward, I fear this will be the case every four years.

Coronavirus has dominated this campaign in many ways - the handling of it, future plans to keep it at bay and how to reboot the economy post-lockdown.

Our tourism authorities say the decision yesterday to open the borders to NSW will help boost our economy but Sydneysiders are more likely to bring the bigger dollars.

As a former Victorian, it was heartening to see some of the restrictions lifted in the past week but, still, who knows when I will be able to see my family without paying through the nose for a quarantine hotel on the way back.

When Victorians can get out of their own state, I suspect we will see a huge uptake in tourism.

More information about early voting:

Where to vote early in Mackay

Where you can vote early in Mirani

Where to vote early in Whitsunday

Where you can vote early in Burdekin

 

I know both premiers are getting slammed for being overly cautious but I for one am happy to listen to advice from the Chief Health Officer.

Watching United States President Donald Trump undermining Dr Anthony Fauci at every turn has been jarring; disgusting even at times.

Bit worrying though if she has only made the latest border call as an election move as suggested late yesterday.

Let's hope we can continue to suppress this virus so we don't end up like Europe or the US before a vaccine can be made widely available.

No matter which way you slice it, COVID-19 has shaped this campaign.

It is Annastacia Palaszczuk's election to lose and Deb Frecklington's to win.

I have a feeling Labor might just hold on; steady as she goes. 

More stories:

Glamping, koalas, pools: Whitsunday big election promises

Cash splash: Major election promises for Mackay

Costo in hot water over 'racist' Chinese post

Mackay candidate campaigns while on extended sick leave

 

 

A voter casts his vote at the Mackay Showgrounds early voting centre. Picture: Melanie Whiting.
A voter casts his vote at the Mackay Showgrounds early voting centre. Picture: Melanie Whiting.

I was disappointed yesterday to find yet again an empty mailbox with no postal vote.

Guess I'll be lining up with everyone else today to cast our votes.

But I hope the people who didn't receive the postal vote don't get fined for not getting their ballot in.

Seems like a poor effort from Australia Post and the Electoral Commission of Queensland.

With about 50 per cent of voting already undertaken, it's clear voters made their decision early, opted for postal voting to stay safe or took advantage of pre-polling to beat the rush.

Daily Mercury exit polling puts incumbent MP Julieanne Gilbert in front of LNP candidate Chris Bonanno in Mackay but traditionally LNP voters wait for election day so I wouldn't be surprised to see a late surge today.

It seems clear Julieanne's 8.34 per cent margin will reduce. It would be the talk of the night if the LNP could clinch the Labor stronghold.

It's unclear whether the LNP will secure Whitsunday again with the favourite Amanda Camm, having expelled incumbent Jasin Costigan from the party last year.

Exit polling has Labor's Angie Kelly doing better than expected, especially at the Airlie Beach pre-polling booth.

What is clear is that it's going to take a huge push on election day for the incumbent to win back his seat.

No surprise there, though, say the political experts. Though, preferences will be interesting to watch. 

 

Debate replays:

Candidates battle in Mackay election debate

Whitsunday election debate gets heated

Burdekin election candidates chase your vote

REPLAY: Watch the Mirani election debate

 

Burdekin and Mirani should be interesting races to watch too.

It seems likely incumbent Stephen Andrew will take Mirani though Labor's Shane Hamilton has been polling well.

But whether Dale Last holds onto Burdekin remains to be seen with KAP's Sam Cox and Labor's Mike Brunker on his tail.

I know I will be thinking long and hard before I number the boxes today, because even though mine is just one grain of sand on the beach, all of our votes can make a difference. 

Visit the Daily Mercury and Whitsunday Times websites throughout today and tonight for the latest on the election.

We will have coverage of the Mackay, Whitsunday, Burdekin and Mirani electorates as it happens.

Your reporting team includes Melanie Whiting, Zizi Averill, Elyse Wurm, Laura Thomas and Tara Miko while I'll be working behind the scenes.

Good luck to all candidates - and if you win, please do your best for this great region.

 

Electorate profiles:

Qld election 2020: Jobs and crime to dominate Mackay campaign

Queensland election 2020: Mixed bag of key issues for Burdekin

Qld election 2020: Recovery focus for Whitsunday campaign

Qld election 2020: Mines, resources power Mirani race

 

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