The Electoral Commission of Queensland says lengthy delays and ballot paper shortages at last month’s Logan City Council elections were not out of the ordinary.

But a newly announced investigation into the “debacle” could suggest otherwise.

“Long lines, not enough ballot papers – and other issues that made voting confusing or difficult – are all things that really shouldn’t be happening in 2024 and we owe it to Queenslanders to make sure the ECQ gets this right,” premier Steven Miles said.

An ECQ spokesperson said ballot boxes that ran out of papers were “quickly replenished by our team of returning officers”.

“This is not an out of the ordinary occurrence, and electors who remained in those polling places received their ballot papers and were able to cast their votes,” the spokesperson said.

“We have received no reports of electors being turned away from a polling booth if they arrived before 6pm.

“At the Eagleby polling booth, the returning officer has advised that any electors arriving after around 5.40pm were redirected to the nearby Cornubia polling booth.”

Nate Hamon, who ran for the division covering Beenleigh, Eagleby and Mount Warren Park, said what happened was “unprecedented”.

He said the line at an Eagleby polling booth came to a “complete standstill” after it ran out of ballot papers.

“My team counted about 80 people walk away,” Mr Hamon said.

“I think that is out of the ordinary.”

Trailing opponent Karen Murphy by only a few hundred votes, Mr Hamon was the highest-performing candidate to face-off against an incumbent.

He recorded a slightly higher number of in-person votes, but Cr Murphy’s postal votes pushed her ahead by around 350.

“Karen did so well on those early postals – I didn’t reach that demographic, obviously – and I don’t want to take anything away from that, but it is disheartening and disappointing to know a lot of people didn’t get their fair chance,” he said.

Griffith University’s local elections expert, Dr Pandanus Petter, said the electoral commission overestimated the amount of early voting.

He said Australia’s democracy was comparatively better than other countries.

“But in this case it has not worked out too well,” Dr Petter said.

“It looks like they anticipated their staff requirements based on the assumption that early voting would be high, because it was last time; the last local government elections were during Covid and we’d just come out of lockdown.”

He said long waits and inaccessibility led to voter frustration, which could result in a lower turn out, more donkey votes, and possibly decreased trust.

The external review will investigate a range of election day issues, including ballot paper shortages and queuing.

Information will be gathered from auditors working in the field on the day, data on voting trends and polling booth demand, and a post-election survey of voters and local governments.

It is expected to complete mid-2024.

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