Southern Downs 'one of the biggest elections' in Queensland
THE Southern Downs has one of the largest fields of council candidates in Queensland, according to the Electoral Commission of Queensland.
Voters will choose eight councillors from a list of 36 candidates and one of four mayoral candidates.
Of the 36 councillor candidates, 10 are from Stanthorpe and 20 are from Warwick.
Two of the mayoral candidates are from the Stanthorpe area and two are from the Warwick area.
According to an ECQ spokesman, just 22 candidates nominated at the last election.
Southern Downs returning officer Garry Adcock has declared the field of candidates for the March council election as one of the largest he's ever seen.
"It's certainly one of the highest I have seen," he said.
"It'll be a tight contest."
The final order of the ballot was drawn yesterday at the Warwick Town Hall, with candidates gathered to find out who made the ever-important first eight names.
Jay Nauss will appear first on the mayoral ballot, followed by Ross Bartley, Tracy Dobie and Peter Blundell.
In the councillor ballot, Phil Buddle will be at the top of the list.
The first eight on the ballot include sitting councillors Neil Meiklejohn (3) and Glyn Rees (7).
Mr Adcock said candidates ideally wanted to be in the first eight names in the ballot paper to get the donkey votes.
A donkey vote is generally when a voter just ticks the first eight boxes on the ballot paper.
Counting of the results will begin at 6pm on Saturday, March 19.
According to Mr Adcock, counting will be done over a 10-day period.
"The counting continues up until the 10th day, taking into account late postal votes," he said.
"I would say with such a large number there won't be much between them.
"I don't think we'll get a clear result before the end of the 10 days."
While preferences won't be counted until the end of the 10 days, Mr Adcock believed a mayoral result would be clear by the end of the night's counting on March 19.
An ECQ media spokesman confirmed ballot papers would be printed immediately.
"We will start sending postal votes out next week," he said.
Voting is compulsory.
Polling closes on March 29.