LNP calls win despite violence and website meltdown
ADRIAN Schrinner was last night declaring his scrutineers had confirmed he had been returned to the Brisbane lord mayoralty in an election night filled with confusion as results slowly trickled in.
Labor's Patrick Condren was not conceding defeat though, insisting it was unlikely a result would be known last night and that he remained "positive".
The latest preliminary count published by the ECQ at 11.30pm showed Cr Schrinner was ahead of Mr Condren on first preferences with 45.65 per cent compared to his rival's 31.77 per cent.
At close of counting last night, the Electoral Commission had counted less than half the vote (41 per cent) amid "technical issues".
Cr Schrinner said Labor's near 30 per cent primary vote suggested Brisbane residents had rejected the party's "scare campaign".
"Although there are a lot of votes still to be reported, our scrutineers are confirming I've been returned as Lord Mayor, with a clear majority if not all of my councillors returned," the LNP incumbent said.
"But there will be no celebrations tonight, there will be no celebrations tomorrow. This is a time to get on with the job.
"My priority is to continue steering the city through this crisis and planning not only for council's operations, but also how the city will grow and prosper in recovery.
"(Brisbane residents) have refused to be conned."
Mr Condren said he would not be conceding defeat and that it was likely the outcome would not be known last night - pointing to the large number of postal votes.
"I know that we have given it everything," he said.
"I have not left anything on the paddock. I feel relaxed. And regardless of how long it takes, I'm enjoying the process.
"Once we get back into the counting again, maybe we might get a clearer picture at some stage tomorrow.
"But I don't think you will get a result tonight. We're about the suburbs … and I think that has certainly resonated with a lot of people."
Hundreds of thousands of voters hit the polling booths yesterday to cast their judgement on the state's 77 councils despite fears turnout would drop dramatically amid the coronavirus crisis.
More than 750,000 Queenslanders actually voted on election day, with polling booths unusually quiet following a record number of pre-polling and postal vote application.
Cr Schrinner was last night watching the results at City Hall, while Mr Condren was with his family at home as early numbers started to trickle in.
Coronavirus restrictions have prevented both candidates from having the normal election night celebrations.
At polling booths across the state, some voters turned up wearing masks to guard themselves from the risks of coronavirus as authorities continued to insist it was safe to vote if health measures were followed.
Unlike in previous elections, candidates and campaigns were banned from handing out election materials and how to vote cards, while voters were expected to follow social distancing rules and bring their own pen.
Before election day, more than 1.2 million people had voted in pre-poll booths, while 570,000 had arranged to vote by post and 40,000 had cast their ballot over the phone - making up about 55 per cent of eligible voters.
The ECQ had warned that some councils may not know the result of their elections for days if the count was close due to the high number of postal votes.
Some campaigns were expecting to not know the result of their election last night, or even for some days as the count continued.
In Brisbane alone, about 164,000 people had applied for a postal vote.
The ECQ last night confirmed it would allow scrutineers to observe the vote counting from outside the polling booths, such as looking through windows or glass doors.
It came after they banned scrutineers from being inside the actual room during the count to prevent the spread of coronavirus and ensure there was proper social distancing.
The ECQ said it had told polling officials to keep doors and windows open to better facilitate the observing of the count.
Brisbane Independent Nicole Johnston posted on Facebook that she has "comfortably won" the primary vote in 10 of 11 booths in Tennyson.
She said there were still about 8000 pre poll votes and more postal votes to arrive.
Voters at Centrepoint Church in Chermside yesterday said while they felt relatively safe due to fewer people inside the voting area, it could have been managed better, with some people "anxious".
Originally published as Schrinner a winner despite results meltdown