Sunday, 25 March 2007

Ballot papers in the polling booth. You mark the box of your preferred candidates with a pencil supplied.

All over New South Wales today, schools, church halls, community halls were transformed into polling places for our state election.
We vote for representatives in both houses of the State Paliament - one member per local electorate, and a range of people to the Upper House (that's the big ballot paper; you don't have to vote for them all - you can choose to vote for a party, or as many candidates as you wish).

Voting is compulsory in Australia. It is sen as one of the obligations and responsibilities that comes with democratic citizenry.

People supporting various political parties offer you "How To Vote" material outside the actual voting hall (it is illegal for party workers to be inside). Inside the gate you can see people queueing to cast their votes. The next NSW state election will be on Saturday March 26, 2011.


  1. I'm always impressed by the large sheets of paper you use for voting in Australia. Had heard of them but never seen them in photo.

    No wonder you need people to explain how to do it right!

    Really pleased about your friends. The Greens were the ones I was interested in too. Pity they didn't make it to the lower chamber. Hopefully they'll get three seats in the Senate.

  2. The ballot looks quite extensive (and possibly quite confusing,too). Did Natalie or you or someone else said that a non-voter would be fined!!??

  3. Yes, Kate, voting is compulsory in Australia - or at last, presenting at the polling place and having your name marked off is! What you then do with your ballot paper is up to you.

    It's not that confusing.

    In the Lower House, you number the candidtaes inorder of preference (there may be, say, up to 8 candidates), and in the Upper House, you can do that, or number up to the number to be elected, or just put a "1" in the box against the party you prefer. It's not that bad, really!

  4. Its always amazed me that pencils rather than a ball point pen or other non erasible writing implement are provided in polling booths. This does little to instill confidence that votes won't be altered.

  5. Did you ever read Nevil Shute's "In the wet"?
    In it, he writes about an Australia of the future which grants its citizens up to 6 votes in addition to the basic vote based on factors such as education, foreign travel,income, family stability etc.
    Interesting concept. Good yarn, too.