A record 17 candidates are on the ballot for the upcoming Rockhampton mayoral race. 

The regional Queensland city’s long-time mayor Margaret Strelow resigned last November after being found guilty of misconduct by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.

Recent state legislation meant the runner-up in the council election automatically filled the vacant role. The only person to have run against Ms Strelow was environmentalist and arts collector Chris “Pineapple” Hooper.

However, the State Government intervened and changed the laws retrospectively, sparking the upcoming by-election. 

There are now 17 people who believe they should lead the Rockhampton Regional Council. 

The high number of candidates means preferences are expected to play a major role, as they primary vote will be splintered.The poll is on Saturday, but a complex result means the winner may not be decided for up to a week. 

Ms Strelow is urging locals to fill out their ballot completely.

“For this election, please don't ‘Just vote one’,” she said.

“In a normal council election, anywhere up to 70 per cent of people only mark the one candidate.

“That is particularly dangerous for this election … with the number of candidates in the field, preferences will be critical in determining the winner.

“With this field of 17 candidates, if each candidate secures a minimum of 4 or 5 per cent, the winner may have a primary vote as low as 10 per cent.

“Put a ‘1’ beside your preferred candidate and then keep adding numbers beside as many as you could live with.

“That way, if your preferred candidate is eliminated early, then you get a second (and a third and fourth, etc.) chance to influence who gets to be mayor.”