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Half of all votes could be lodged before campaign hits final stretch

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As voters take matters into their own hands, the number of people who turn out to pre-poll centres on Saturday could prove crucial.

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With 820,000 people already applying for postal votes, which they have until November 10 to return, a large proportion of Queenslanders will make a decision without having to head out to a polling booth or pre-poll centre. Their voting material would have arrived in the mailbox alongside other political leaflets, and perhaps facilitated by one of the major parties.

To reduce crowds on election day, the Electoral Commission of Queensland also opened pre-poll centres on Monday, which have already seeing an average of 100,000 votes lodged each day. If that trend continues to tomorrow, roughly 1,320,000 of 3,377,473 eligible votes – including postal votes – could be lodged before the weekend.

But Saturday may prove crucial to the result, being the first time the commission has allowed pre-polling on a weekend before election day. It is also AFL grand final day in Brisbane, and storms are forecast for the south-east, which could affect the turnout in some areas. This Saturday may prove to be the final act in a pandemic and recession year election campaign drama.

It is possible that half of Queenslanders will have voted before the last week of the campaign even starts. That is a big change, especially when party strategists have previously looked to secure – or swing – votes in the final days as Queenslanders turn their attention to their democratic obligations.

If Queenslanders vote early, they will have made their decisions without seeing Labor or the Liberal National Party fully detail their policy costings, as is customary in the last week of the campaign. They will also miss out on leaders Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington going head-to-head in a Queensland Media Club debate on election eve.

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