Election Fever

bushwalk3

Don’t you just LOVE it when the universe decides to have a joke at your expense?

At the last Federal Election, I worked at a holiday town election booth as a declaration votes officer. There were at least two of us, possibly three, I can’t remember. We were pretty busy all day helping people visiting from other electorates to cast their votes. During that day, I had TWO votes for our local electorate of Gilmore, both for people who had enrolled at the last minute and somehow got left off the electoral roll.

So, on Saturday the 2nd of July I unwrapped my votes for the many electorates and began counting them, 5 for each electorate. When I got to Gilmore, I laughed to myself and thought “I won’t need many of those today”.

And the universe laughed with me, or maybe at me, because unknown to me there had been some kind of error with the electoral roll. Some people who were on the roll at the last election suddenly found that they were missing. They had not changed address. They had not changed anything with the AEC. But they could not be found, and had to cast declaration votes.

I had to ask my manager for a pad of Gilmore votes. They are printed in books of 100. I had less than 10 left at the end of the day – add in the 5 I started with, it was almost 100 declaration votes for Gilmore. HA HA, laughed the universe!

There was only one of me this time. There were times where I was surrounded by people at my table. I only had one pen which would work on the envelopes and the polling place manager had to do some pen stealing to find me more. I ended up with four. Even with all four pens being used to fill in envelopes, there were long queues of people waiting for me. I was using one pen – the one that would not work on the envelopes – to write down the things I needed to add to the envelopes once they were filled in.

Handing out votes, saying all the things I needed to say, reminding everyone their votes HAD to come back to me to be placed into their envelopes.. I felt like an election robot.

Just after 5pm, I ran out of declaration vote envelopes. We did not have any more, nor did we have any way to get anymore. We had to send those people to other voting places.

The good news is, this meant I could close my station and begin reconciling. Thank the deities, the vote numbers worked out perfectly. Declaration votes are not counted on election day, they are sent to their various electorates to be counted. The envelopes remain closed until they arrive there. Not even the declaration votes cast within their own electorate are opened and counted.

I was done with my reconcillation by 6:30pm which meant I could join in the counting of regular votes. With one of the best teams of AEC staff I have ever been lucky enough to meet, and everyone pitching in and working hard, we had everything counted by 8:30pm. Another half hour to pack up, 15 minutes to bump out and clean up, and we were all out of there by 9:20pm or so. I was home with my beloved Antony Green on the teevee by 9:30pm. I was in bed not long after that – I recorded him to watch later.

As I type this on the 4th of July, there is no election result in Australia. There are currently 10 electorates too close to call and all the votes – postal, declaration, pre-poll – will have to be counted in order to get a result. By the time this post is scheduled I hope we might have a result, I will update it next Sunday.

One of those electorates is my own – Gilmore.

UPDATE – Supposedly the coalition has claimed victory, even though there is more counting to do.. :/

challenges, elections, work

Thoughts On Things

bananas

The protein adventures continue. I find myself quite often considering whether I have enough bananas in the freezer. My daily protein shake is now my daily lunch and I have to be honest, I quite prefer it to any other food. The other half has gone out to get a gorgeous, locally made hamburger from the local takeaway shop and I have returned home to have my shake.

I tried putting a full frozen banana in there and it turned out like the most awesome – and coldest – thickshake I ever tasted. I could not even notice the texture of the protein. That is going to be a massive winner in summer. I’m loving it in winter too. I’m a bit of a weird one, though, winter is the time I use the most ice in my drinks.

I have progressed up to 30g of protein powder and I am loving it. I ran out of peanut butter powder this week and I have been doing a touch more cocoa powder with a touch more cinnamon, now I think I might alternate between the two flavours once I get some more PB powder.

This weekend is going to be a bit of a problem, though. Usually I do my exercise before lunch then have my protein shake after my shower. I’m working the election on Saturday so my entire routine will be thrown right out of whack. Luckily it is not too far from home, so I can still have my shake.

I will take some carrot sticks and cheese for morning and afternoon snacks, and chicken strips for dinner. Plus plenty of water and my soda water. I’m not going to be able to exercise – other than perhaps take a walk at lunch time, but it won’t be the kind of walk I am used to doing, not in the outfit I am planning to wear! ;)

I did not actually apply to work this election because I knew it is going to be one heck of a tough one, with the changes to voting. But once you are on the list, they will call you if they are running short on staff. I figured if they called me, I would say yes.

For the huge Senate ballot paper (which measures in at just over a metre!) you used to be able to say, very simply – Number one box above, or ALL the boxes below. Now, it is a minimum of 6 above, or 12 below.

Here is a great post from Antony Green about the new changes.

Working the election is a really long day – you start at 7 (booths do not open until 8am) and you finish when the votes are counted *and* fully accounted for. How long that takes depends on how good at maths your Polling Place Manager is. The second time I worked an election, we were delayed by an hour because someone had done some maths wrong. It was late in the very long day, everyone was tired and starting to get a bit snappy and jumpy.

It should tell you everything about how tired everyone was that *I* was the person who figured out what was going on with the maths. I failed maths in school, LOL! We finished that day around 11:30pm.

This also taught me to bring along a packet of chocolate biscuits to hand around for dessert, because by that time of day blood sugar can be running a bit low, so a little treat tends to perk people up a little.

You might be wondering, how do people count – and handle – those massive ballot papers? The first thing you have to do when you open the Senate ballot box is UNFOLD all those papers. This can take over an hour just by itself depending on how many people voted there and how many staff you have on hand. As you unfold, most people tend to pull out votes for the major parties and put them aside, just to make the sorting a little easier when the time comes.

You also put aside any “artistic” votes, completely blank papers, or clearly invalid votes. Listen, people. If you are going to draw genitalia on your ballot paper, USE THE WHOLE CANVAS if you want to impress the polling staff. Do not just draw genitals at the size you are used to seeing them, AKA the size of your parts. You have a metre. Make the most of it!

If you want to write a funny note, the polling place staff are the only people who will see it. Writing in Mickey Mouse does not make anyone laugh. We’ve seen that so many times before, but if that is how you want to waste your vote, totes fine with us.

The things I have seen, I really wished I could take photos of, but that is Not The Done Thing. I’m fine with that, though I feel like the AEC are really missing an opportunity to throw a huge art exhibition with some of the genitalia drawings. Last election there was one enterprising individual who drew a tiny male genitalia in every single box on the huge white ballot paper. Work like that should be appreciated, not just stored in a (large) plastic bag for all eternity.

elections

NSW Election Day

fuchsia

If you are in New South Wales, the polls have just opened. :)

I’ll be working in a polling booth again today. My apologies for not being around so much this week, I’ve been working on the training and getting organised.

It is a super long day and it’ll take me a couple of days to recover from it, so I won’t be around too much, at least not until Tuesday or so.. :) Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Aussie Culture, elections, politics

Here we go again..

leaders

Please to explain how Bill Shorten is even an option on this poll, news.com.au. Bill Shorten is not a member of the Liberal Party and even if he were to get ALL THE VOTES there is no possible way he can become the leader of it! You might as well put Ronald McDonald on the form as well..

Look, there is zero doubt that Australia adores Malcolm Turnbull. The guy says what he thinks and it has cost him dearly at times, rather famously costing him the leadership back in 2009. He will always be known to Q&A viewers as That Guy Who Wore The Leather Jacket That Time.

The Australian Media are all in a tizzy, they love this kind of stuff *so* much. And it will run 24/7 until Tuesday, I’m certain.

Do the public love it? Having worked at the past few elections I have heard many comments from people who are forced to show up and vote, and the general theme is, I’d rather not have to vote for any of these idiots.

I had a few people tell me they’d prefer to “blow all those bastards up” which is a very Australian statement. Non-Australians might not understand how that can be an Australian statement, but this was a catchphrase here for many years thanks to The Kingswood Country. AKA – “Somebody/someone should blow [current object of annoyance] up!”

Some people advise they would prefer to urinate on them than vote for them. I’m deeply appreciative that these people are willing to express their apparent fondness for golden showers with a random like me handing out their voting papers, but the germophobe within me says, ew.

I also deeply enjoyed the drawings of genitalia on the ballot papers, though I did not understand why people drew such small penises on such a large canvas. Were these self portraits? Use the whole ballot, peoples, it is enormous. Have a look at the size of the largest ballot here – Australia’s Compulsory Voting System; Is It Good or Bad?.

In general people were vastly unhappy with all the uncertainty around Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party, so they are unlikely to be huge fans of these same issues in the Liberal Party.

With that said, the last federal election was a very clear middle finger to the Labor Party and I suspect the only reason the Liberals got in is due to the fact that they were not Labor. EG I’m voting for these people because they are not THOSE people. Nobody seemed to like Tony Abbott then, and nobody seems to like him now.

For what it is worth – there is an upcoming election in NSW and they are looking for staff if you live in NSW and you want to give it a try, click here for more. I’ve worked elections a few times and have enjoyed it enormously. :)

Aussie Culture, bitches, elections, politics, work

REPOST – An ode to Antony.

It is election time again, and I rediscovered this post I wrote a while back. The blog now has the ability for people to leave comments, and Antony is doing a weekly campaign diary which is just as fascinating as his election night coverage..

Antony Green

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more brainy and more accurate:
Rough winds do shake the country,
And election night hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the studio light shines,
And often is his laptop power dimm’d;

Dinner is ready to go in the oven.
The cheesecake is in the fridge.
I await my evening of Antony.

Once every four years is not enough.
Who knows what the night will bring?

Whatever it is, Antony will
keep me informed
with his laptop and his pie charts and his
analyst ways.

And then, almost like a dream
he will be gone *sob*
and the election will
be over.

Then the waiting will begin again
another four years
or two or thereabouts, if you are lucky
and he covers your state election.

But wait! What light through yonder Internet breaks?
He has a blog..
Alas I cannot comment
and tell him how much I respect him. :(

Perhaps he will search
for his name
and find this post
one day.

Aussie Culture, elections, politics

Elections

We have a date, at last. September 7..

If you have never worked at an election, you should put your name up for consideration. The AEC will be assembling one of the largest casual work forces in Australia over the next month or so.

I have to tell you it is one of the most fascinating jobs I have ever had, and the money isn’t too bad either.

Anyone interested in applying for an election job – click here. :)

And anyone voting, if you are going to draw male private parts on your ballot rather than actually vote, if you want to impress us vote counters, USE THE WHOLE CANVAS. You have a piece of paper which is about a metre long. Do not draw the size of your own manhood, or the size of manhoods with which you are familiar. Your artwork tells us a fascinating story.

Last election I worked which was a state one, there was one industrious individual who drew a little tiny penis in every single box you were supposed to number. From memory that was something like 86 boxes. Sadly the only people who saw it was our little counting team. It is my feeling these should end up in an art gallery somewhere.

Aussie Culture, elections

Meet The New Boss

Kevin Rudd

Same As The Old Boss

John Howard

But With Slightly More Hair

The Snoskred mood this morning is decidedly worried. Kevin Rudd is the new prime minister. I have nothing against him, but his party are well known to be terrible at managing money. I’m aghast at the $4.7 billion or so that will be spent on supposedly improving broadband in this country but according to those in the know on Whirlpool will actually change nothing unless Telstra cooperate – and if Telstra choose not to, this policy could cost around 20 billion dollars to implement.. That’s a lot of money to waste. 4.7 billion – or 20 billion – could do a lot of things for a lot of people. Wasting it on broadband seems like a terrible idea.

Fibre to the node is also pretty much useless, because once you get to the node there has to be fibre from the node in order for people to benefit from the speeds. Laying fibre from the node in a country as huge as ours will cost a lot more than any private company is prepared to stump up. Not only that but the international links need to be upgraded as well. So in essence it is a policy which will cost a lot of money and have very little effect.

Clearly a lot of people felt it was time for a change after John Howard had been prime minister for so long. I just hope we all don’t live to regret it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

elections

An Ode To Antony

Antony Green

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more brainy and more accurate:
Rough winds do shake the country,
And election night hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the studio light shines,
And often is his laptop power dimm’d;

Dinner is ready to go in the oven.
The cheesecake is in the fridge.
I await my evening of Antony.

Once every four years is not enough.
Who knows what the night will bring?

Whatever it is, Antony will
keep me informed
with his laptop and his pie charts and his
analyst ways.

And then, almost like a dream
he will be gone *sob*
and the election will
be over.

Then the waiting will begin again
another four years
or two or thereabouts, if you are lucky
and he covers your state election.

But wait! What light through yonder Internet breaks?
He has a blog..
Alas I cannot comment
and tell him how much I respect him. :(

Perhaps he will search
for his name
and find this post
one day.

Aussie Culture, elections, Men I Love To Watch, politics