Posted by: Gregoryno6 | October 27, 2012

I feel sorry for American voters.

Election Day is almost here for the US. First Tuesday in November – the same day that we here in The Great South Land have set aside for a horse race. There’s probably nothing to be made of that coincidence; then again… but I digress.

Voting for you is not compulsory, and I can well understand why. There’s nothing else that puts excitement into the event. “It’s election day…. (snort)… (fart)… am I gonna get outta bed?” In Australia, we are required by law to go to the polling booth. But it can also be fun. Because we use the preferential voting system, and while voting for the party we want IN power is our duty, deciding the order of the parties we want to keep OUT is a true joy and pleasure!

We have a healthy variety of political parties in Australia, and most of these will turn up on the ballot papers in most states and electorates. This pathetic limp sample from the Australian Electoral Office doesn’t do the real thing justice. But it gives you the general idea.

Positions on the ballot paper are chosen at random. Each candidate writes his mother’s maiden name on a slip of paper and throws it into a hat. The slips are then drawn out by an ex-Australian Rules footballer. Once the ceremonials are complete, he’s taken away and quietly garrotted. There’s a beautiful little cemetery garden at the rear of Parliament House. No, really! It’s quite the tourist attraction.

A lot of Australians think preferential voting is a waste of time and – to be really crude about it – a totally worthless chore. What joyless souls they are. I’ve spent some of the happiest minutes of my life debating whether the Australian Sex Party should be preferenced higher than the Christian Democratic Party. Animal Justice before Shooters and Fishers, or behind? Family First at 27 and Help End Marijuana Prohibition at 28, or the other way around?

You’ve got to admit, it makes Republican vs Democrat look very, very dull.

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Responses

  1. You seem to have a lotof fun with Elections. Come over this way and tell Sefricans how they can make it fun; the poor rotten sould think it is serious stuff.

    On 10/27/12, The mind is an unexplored country.

  2. Wait. You are compelled to vote, by law? Seriously? I had no idea. What happens if you don’t?

    • If you don’t… not a hell of a lot.
      I passed on several elections over a period of maybe ten years, from my early 30s to early 40s. The Electoral Commission first send you a Please Explain, which lists the options for response. Some years I paid the $20 fine – that’s right, your vote is worth just $20 as far as the government’s concerned – and some years I claimed religious reasons. They don’t much care; what they’re really nervous about is some braveheart saying To HELL with your compulsory voting!!! and starting a legal battle.

      • Good Lord. Can you imagine the ruckus such a thing would stir up in these parts? FFS, if you think voter ID verification is something…don’t move to Chicago. My sister tells me the word on the street there is, “Vote early and vote often.”


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