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Did the ballot paper really have to be that long?

Australia went to the polls last Saturday, 3rd July 2016. Eight days later the (current) breaking news is Labor Party leader Bill Shorten has conceded defeat and Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull remains our leader, at least until the next election.

Politics isn’t what I want to write about though, what I was more interested in was how the local community connected with one another on the school grounds hosting the voting booths.

Apart from minor irritations such as completing the longest ballot paper ever seen in a booth too small to accommodate it, people greeted each other smiling, dogs were patted with “Who’s a good boy then?’ and ‘Ooh lovely breed what’s its name?’ Voters chatted over cupcakes bought from the fundraising food stall, or chomped away on regulation sausage sizzle, something that’s become a tradition at election booths and nicknamed Democracy Sausages.

The biggest pull for me was the coffee. Being out and about so early Saturday morning required a strong cup of java to kick start my dormant brain cells. It also saw me through while I perused the seemingly endless Senate ballot paper which formed a U shape in my booth (did the ballot paper really have to be that long?). Folding the thing was an adventure in itself and wished I’d taken up origami. I suspect voters around me wished much the same although someone mentioned toilet paper in which case three ply is the way to go…

When it was all over, the sun still shone, people continued to smile, eat, chat about life, the Universe and the size of the ballot paper, sipped coffee and said hello to Fido.

Social media, new technology and ‘progress’ has meant for me at least, that to some extent the skill of socialising is slipping away, and it’s something we need to maintain. I mean, who else would you laugh or cry with on election day about the size of the ballot paper and booth?