Topics:  council elections, election, mayor, mayoral candidate

Guess who will be our mayor...

CRUNCH TIME: One of these eight may claim victory tonight in the mayoral count.
CRUNCH TIME: One of these eight may claim victory tonight in the mayoral count.

THE campaign flyers have been handed out, the flesh pressed and the babies kissed - now it's time to find out who will lead the Southern Downs region for the next four years.

At 6pm tonight at the Warwick Town Hall ballot boxes containing between 14,000 and 15,000 postal votes in the council election will be opened and a team of 20 poll workers will start counting those cast for the position of mayor.

With 23,000 ballots issued there is still a swag to come back, with returning officer Garry Adcock expecting the vast majority outstanding to turn up on Monday and Tuesday, from those who posted their votes at the last minute.

Mr Adcock moved to allay the fears of some candidates about the chances of a councillor result being delayed by several weeks due to a lack of vote counters.

"I was advised on Thursday I would have at least 20 staff to count votes throughout," Mr Adcock said.

"I'm still confident we will have a strong trend in the mayoral vote (tonight), if not a result."

Postal ballots can still come in up to Tuesday week, but will only be counted if dated before today.

Of the 73 councils in Queensland, 30 opted for full postal voting in the 2012 elections, including Southern Downs.

Confusion over the flap containing voter ID details on the ballot return envelope - which some voters tore off by mistake - led to fears the informal vote could run as high as 8%, but by week's end this figure had fallen to below 4% of votes received.

Former Warwick Shire councillor Sean Hegarty said some people had told him they had found it "hard to choose" a mayor and eight councillors, from the 30 candidates running all up.

"I think most people will want to see a mix of experienced councillors and new blood," he said.

"I honestly don't think Warwick and Stanthorpe parochialism will come into it - I think people will have voted for the best people for the jobs."

Mayoral candidate from 2008 Andrea Bond wasn't so sure, saying Warwick voters would have been wary about another Stanthorpe councillor majority as what happened last time.

"In 2008 I think a lot of Warwick people were really trying to be fair, by giving up to half their councillor vote to Stanthorpe candidates," she said.

"This time a lot more people at the Warwick end will have been more parochial and some have said to me they won't be voting for any Stanthorpe candidates.

"I don't fall into that category, but I think it will be a factor."



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