by Alan Lander
THE informal vote for the seat of Noosa at the November 25 state election was more than 50 per cent higher than in 2015.
And the Electoral Commission of Queensland believes that can be partly attributed to the cancellation of 'just vote 1' optional preferential voting.
The 2017 vote so far shows the informal vote at nearly 3.7%, while the figure was 2.1% in 2015.
"There has been people just voting 1," ECQ Returning Officer Colin Brown said, even though the rules changed for this election, where preferential voting was re-introduced.
"But we don't know if that's the whole reason for the higher informal count."
Mr Brown said on Monday the final postal and absentee count was being completed, and figures for leading Noosa candidate, independent Sandy Bolton had barely shifted since Thursday, from 9077 (up from 8962) and former sitting member, the LNP's Glen Elmes at 8383 (up from 8220), showing Ms Bolton leading by 694 votes, a lead which has slightly dropped due to postal votes slightly favouring Mr Elmes, as expected.
Mr Brown said "hopefully" the preference count would begin late today or early tomorrow, with a full result likely by Friday at the latest.
He said the process of allocating second and ongoing preferences was complex, and was aware that the vote counting system was attracting criticism.
"People want results on the Saturday night [of the election], but it's never going to happen," Mr Brown said.
"If only people were allowed to watch the count, they would say 'I never realised how complex it is'.
"And last election there was only four candidates; this year, there are seven."