I’m jetting northwards with Dear Boy over the election weekend, so I voted early. I’d assumed I’d just rock up to my old polling station in Newcastle and cast an absentee vote on the day, but was disabused of that notion. That’s only do-able if you’re within the same state. Interstate voting only happens at a small number of specially designated Interstate Voting Centres, none of which were located near my hotel in the heart of the city. Go figure.
Postal voting lacks all the fun and interest of doing it in person, so I looked up the location of my nearest (or not so ‘nearest’**) Early Voting Centre and went to cast my ballot.
I wheeled Dear Boy up to the Masonic hall and found stairs. Just stairs. Handy.
I asked the Liberal candidate, who was closest (and who I only know is a candidate because his big smiley face was on a poster right behind him), if there was a ramp and received only a blank face for my query. He couldn’t quite make the connection between me and the need for a ramp. You could see his brain was clicking over. Voter. Ramp. Voter. Ramp. Smile. Not even a nod down at the boy kicking away in his stroller seemed to clue him in.
The Greens spruiker leaned over, laughing. “No ramp, but I’ll give you a hand up”. With one hand full of preference leaflets, he wrapped the other around the stroller’s foot strap as I hauled stroller and child backwards up the flight of stairs.
At the top, a wild-haired woman who had clearly suffered some kind of traumatic brain injury yelled at me to “Vote Family First! Okay?!”. Then she yelled it again. Dear Boy scrunched down in his seat to escape her; I wondered if she was complying with the distance-from-polling-station-door rules.
Does anyone else think it’s weird that you don’t have to show ID to vote? You just give them your name and address and they slide that little ruler down the page and mark you off. Anyone… well probably anyone of the same sex… could rock up and cast your vote with or without your consent.
I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to stand for half an hour in that little cardboard booth and number each and every one of the
million 90-odd senate
candidates below the line, but Dear Boy was getting impatient before I’d even
numbered 1-6 on my green ballot paper. Where would I have ranked Labour, The Greens
and the Coalition against Julian Assange and the Wikileaks Party, Bob Katter’s
Australian party, the Pirate party, the Sex party, the Palmer United party,
Family First, the Stable Population party, the 21st Century
Australia party and so on? Probably not in that order… but WHO ARE ALL THESE
I'm also a little annoyed I didn't get a sticker. Dude in the picture got a sticker.
Do you like voting in person too? Are you a one-above-the-line or an all-below-the-line Senate voter?
**I am giving no props to the Australian Electoral Commission’s organisational skills and web updates because they sent me to the wrong location and it took me half an hour to find the polling station.