The electoral paper chase

Steve Kendall | Bendigo Weekly | 17-Jun-2016

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THANKFULLY I am away on July 2 and was able to vote early.

This involved walking along to Hargreaves Street from the Weekly’s city hub in View Street.

The printers had been busy over the weekend, and each member of the party faithful were clutching the all-important how to vote card for their favourite candidate.

In a bid to foil the counters, I took three at random, carefully taking the form for the person I wanted to vote for. It would have given my plan away if I had to sneak back out and pick up the right one.

We have eight candidates in the Bendigo seat, so that means at least as many hopeful leaflet hander-outers, but there were some hangers on too.

I was awash with leaflets, then it came time for the voting proper.

The vote for the MP was pretty clear, just a list of eight, but the Senate paper was a nightmare. I had heard it was going to be simpler, but I had to fold the paper in thirds just to get it into the voting bay.

Things have changed on the Senate vote, you have to vote at least six above the line or at least 12 below the line.

No more sneaky number 1 next to your favourite above the line. It takes time, especially if you want to toe the party suggestions. There must have been 30+ choices, such is democracy.

I tried to keep it private and propped up my how to vote sheets,  careful not to copy the wrong one, but once again when it came to the Senate vote it was practically dragging along the floor for all to see.

I dutifully marked my six, thinking how preference deals are perhaps a thing of the past, and then folded the sheet, for that’s what it is, into a piece of paper that would fit in the ballot box.

Not convinced this preference thing is worth all the paper that’s printed.

Then came the walk of shame, exiting the voting centre through the throng of party helpers.

Funny thing is they didn’t even notice me, no longer being any use to them, and I walked off knowing my small part of democracy had been fulfilled.

I couldn’t help thinking how much paper we could save if perhaps the how to vote leaflets were recycled on exit, but that would be a small dent when measured with the amount of paper in each of the Senate ballot forms.

Spoken by Steve Kendall, 37 to 39 View Street, Bendigo for no party in particular.

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