After voting in no fewer than 42 elections, and several referenda, right across the mighty nation of Australia Mark Miller offers his hard learned tips for a visit to the place of Polling.
What to do before leaving:
-Shower or under arm poohy up a Lot.
(The only thing worse than a BO smell on that queue is when the smell is yours.)
-Put Clean Undies on.
(Well your mother always told you, “You never know what might happen”.)
-Check name of the candidate you want to vote for in the House of Reps before you leave.
(Nothing worse than getting there and having to waste time while you ponder- ‘who was that again? You know the plain looking one with the nice smile”.)
-Make sure there’s plenty of fuel in the car
(You’ll drive for hours to get a parking space depending what time of the day you go).
-Have NO Plans TO GO OR TO DO ANYTHING post voting.
(It will take you much longer than you think or like.)
-Phone on silent.
(After BO, the next most annoying thing on the queue are those talking or even texting people on phones)
-Write your name and address on the palm of your hand.
(The reason for this will become obvious as we move on)
OK. So now that we’ve gotten this far,
What to take with you:
-Water Bottle – (at least one)
-Money for the sausage sizzle and cakes stall.
-Off Spring or Partner of voting age- (Your Place Minder)
What Not to Take with you:
-Deaf Aunty Betty
-Your flatulent father -in-Law
-Impatience or a hangover
-Small child or baby.
What to Wear:
-Sensible standing shoes (You’ll be in the queue for a while.)
-The sensible hat
(It will be sunny)
-Avoid anything that will make a statement or attract people to talk to you.
(Remember Australia turns out to vote and many of those there just maybe those you wouldn’t want to talk to in a month of Sundays.).
-Clothing that is plain white, black, brown, a dull gray, deep, deep purple or beige.
(Avoid at all costs reds, Green and Blues, yellows, for fear of being mistaken as a ‘fellow’ supporter by one of those overly anxious ‘How to Vote’ volunteers who, given the right colour of clothing will pounce on you and thrust copious amounts of paper into your hands and God only knows where political zeal may lead them.)
The ORDER OF Things:
Send your queue ‘place minder’ in first. It is best if you had them in training for the ‘Swift walk’ for a few weeks before hand.
They need to frown, sneer like, and look extremely unpleasant and unapproachable and rush past everyone.
A Late teen who got home about 6 ish in the morning and whom you have just woken up is good for this task.
Shoulder thumps with no apology, delivered unto others are acceptable for these people.
Remember you do not know them. Not until you are back in the car, motor running and heading away from the point of voting. Talk only to them when you are 200 yards down the road on the way home.
Their only purpose is to secure “that” position in that cue. No talking, no dilly dallying, no excuses, and definitely NO DREADED HTV’s. (How to Vote) Cards.
Now you may enter.
Walk with an air of style to your stride.
You will appear to be the ONE person in Australia who knows their mind and therefore does not need to have your hands, pockets, purse or any other openings or crevices on your personage stuffed with HTV’s by sweaty strangers.
Your clever costume choice will, of course, confuse the HTV volunteers. They will have flummoxed by your choice of colour, unsure and unable to detect a tell-tale hue which may “hint and whisper” what flavor you may be…
And that’s when you swoop, grab the HTV’s you want and move with a super human lightening, yet at a self-assured pace, through the gate.
Once inside, do not acknowledge your Place Minder.
Head straight to the sausage sizzle and buy 4 sausages on bread.
Proceed to place minder.
Saying nothing, hand them one sausage on bread.
Hand another sausage on bread to the person behind you who has already begun complaining about you pushing in.
Wait 52 seconds exactly, then offer the remaining spare sausage on bread to the slower, somewhat unobservant, dare we say dim witted partner of the person behind you who has just noticed you pushed in.
Proceed inside to the voting chamber.
One or two Points from here:
1. If you forget who you are when asked, check your hand palm. It can happen as we get older.
2. Remember the “privacy” booth is not private. It is NOT sound proof. It is NOT vision proof.
Do not do anything which may embarrass you or those near to you. People can hear you, hear your bodily noises and see your scratching yourself and making adjustments to yourself and they can identify you.
3. Do not give the old dear beside any voting advice, no matter how much they might ask or Beg-It is illegal for you to do so.
4. The senate paper is the size of the hallway in your rich mate’s house. Allow time to fold and fold and fold on completion and use as much force as necessary to make it fit in placement box when finished
So there you have it.
Remember to say thanks to the volunteer on the way out, don’t forget to buy the cake and exit with grace, knowing you have done for your nation a very great thing indeed.
Oh, when you get home, wash your hands well before handling food, children or small or animals or feral pests.