Today, Victorians headed to the polls. I was one of them. For those of you who are unaware, Australia has compulsory voting. That means that if you don’t go vote (and you don’t have a valid reason why you didn’t or an excuse), you get a fine. Actually, you get up to 1 penalty unit and one penalty unit is currently equal to a fine of $180. I read somewhere that it was $20.
Since I live in a regional area, I didn’t have easy access to an early voting venue, so I had to get up today and vote. It was a little hard getting up and leaving though, so I made it to the voting center (a church) at about 1:30 pm. The polling centre was about a 20 minute walk away and the flies were out in full force. (I hate flies.)
It was the first time that I’ve voted in a regional area. I was expecting it to be like Melbourne was. I was expecting lots of people, lots of people asking me to vote for candidates I don’t like, and sausage sizzles. There wasn’t a lot of any of those things and there weren’t any sausage sizzles. I brought cash with me for that very reason.
Wait, I hear you non-Aussies and non-Kiwis asking: what’s a sausage sizzle? Well you can check out the link or I’ll save you the time and explain it to you. It’s basically throwing some cheap (or donated) weiners on a grill, barbequing them and then serving them with a slice of bread, sauces, and grilled onions. People usually sell them at events to raise money for charities, schools, sports clubs, and other organisations. A hardware chain here called Bunnings Warehouse does them every weekend. I don’t much care for the smell of them, but it’s a nice idea. Anyway, I was expecting one and didn’t get it. I was a little sad.
Anyway, I voted and left. I got home and now I’m hungry for cheap hot dogs. I don’t want to go to the store and brave the flies. They drive me insane.
I sometimes ask myself if compulsory voting should be a thing in the USA and on paper and in conversation, that seems like a great idea. It gives, theoretically, a better representation of people’s feelings towards the way they think governments should be run. Australia’s population is only a fraction of what the USA’s is, so I think it’s a lot more doable here. Elections are expensive. I couldn’t imagine how much it would cost the USA if everybody had to vote. The traffic would be horrible and I doubt a lot of people would put in a real vote… because not everybody really cares.
Anyway, I’m pretty comfortable that the state will retain the same government, but I do get surprised sometimes.
I hope everybody’s having a good weekend. I’m trying to chill the fuck out for a while. I’m finally getting there.