UPDATE: ECQ admits it's to blame for no election letters
UPDATE: The Electoral Commission of Queensland has admitted it was responsible for the decision not to mail voters about tomorrow's by-elections.
"In its earlier statement, ECQ indicated that Council had decided against sending a letter to voters about the Bundaberg by-elections," a spokeswoman said.
"This was incorrect," she said.
"A Voter Information Card was not offered to Council for these by-elections.
"ECQ apologies for any confusion an earlier statement might have caused.
"ECQ conducted paid advertising, targeted social media and direct contact with thousands of voters who provided an email address with their enrolment details.
"The commission is confident given the number of electors who have chosen to vote early (almost one-third of voters in each division) that there is a high level of awareness about the by-elections."
EARLIER: BundabergRegional Council chose not to send letters to voters about tomorrow's double by-elections, according to the Electoral Commission of Queensland.
Some residents say they had no idea they needed to vote in tomorrow's Division 8 and Division 10 by-elections, while people living in other divisions have been turning up to pre-polling.
Complaints about a lack of information surfaced on social media this week.
"How come there was no official mail-out?" Jacqui Abrehart asked on the council's Facebook.
A council spokesperson said the by-elections were run by the ECQ.
But an ECQ spokesman said it was the council that decided against a mail-out.
"Bundaberg Regional Council opted not to use a mail out but ECQ has undertaken paid advertising, targeted social media and has directly contacted thousands of voters who provided an email address with their enrolment details," the spokesman said.
The NewsMail asked the council if it had chosen to not to send a mail-out.
"The Electoral Commission Queensland is responsible for the conduct of the two by-elections, including advertising that's required by legislation," a council spokesman said in response.
"Council encourages eligible residents to vote and has provided information online," he said.
"The NewsMail has provided extensive coverage of the by-elections.
"Many of the candidates have advertised the by-elections using flyers, letterbox drops and other means."
Megan Turnbull said she had no idea she had to vote until she saw the council's Facebook post.
"I knew some of Bundy had to vote with the signs around however haven't had any correspondence to say I am in the area and have to vote!"
Earlier this week the NewsMail published a letter by Lex Roberts about the public's lack of knowledge about voting and which division they live in. Mr Roberts called on the council to help educate voters.
Today's by-elections are being held after David Batt won the seat of Bundaberg at November's state election and Peter Heuser resigned due to ill health.
Five polling booths are open today from 8am-6pm:
- Churches of Christ, Twyford Street, Avoca
- Branyan Road State School, Branyan Drive, Branyan
- Bundaberg West Baptist Church Hall, Avoca Street, Millbank
- Thabeban State School, Goodwood Road, Thabeban
- Walkervale State School, Water Street, Walkervale
Voters in both divisions can vote at all booths.
Assisted wheelchair access is available at the Avoca, Thabeban and Walkervale booths.
The Division 8 candidates, in ballot order, are Jane Truscott, Steve Cooper and David Facer.
The Division 10 candidates, in ballot order, are Crystal Jones, John Learmonth, Tim Sayre and Lynne Forgan.
More than a thousand people have already voted in pre-polling, which closes at 6pm tonight, and hundreds have applied for postal votes, which must be returned to the ECQ by February 20.
Pre-poll voting is at Shops 12 and 3, 9 Maryborough Street.
Voting is compulsory and failing to do so may result in a 126.15 fine.
In Queensland, optional preferential voting is used in council elections, which means people can just vote one or they can choose to number some or all of the boxes in the order of their preference.