If you're not one of the estimated 46,000 south-west residents who's applied for a postal vote or already cast their ballot at a pre-poll centre, you have an important job to do on Saturday.
It will mean setting aside time in what might be a busy weekend but there will be rewards - and not just the warming democracy sausage on a May morning.
First and foremost, you'll get to participate in choosing your own government, a right - and in this country a legal responsibility - denied to a huge proportion of the world's population. According to the Democracy Index, compiled by the Economist Research Unit, only 6.4 per cent of people around the world enjoy living in a full democracy. The index says 39.3 per cent live in flawed democracies, 17.2 per cent in hybrid regimes and 37.1 per cent are governed by authoritarian regimes. Australia is counted as a full democracy. The ballot, not batons and bullets, determines who gets to govern, so your vote is important.
Worryingly a growing number of voters in Wannon are taking democracy for granted. At the 2019 poll, 4161 ballots or 3.85 per cent, were considered informal, either because voters made mistakes in numbering boxes or chose to thumb their noses at the process. That number was almost double the 2266 at the 2007 poll.
Why? Disinterest? Dissatisfaction with the major parties? Disillusioned the same party has held Wannon by big margins since 1955?
Whatever the reason, despite an uninspiring campaign in Wannon that lacked commitments for local issues, let your vote do the talking, it will shape not only the future of the region but the country. Could the next term of federal parliament be defining in our history? As identified by you in our survey before the campaign, climate change, health, cost of living and transparency are burning issues that need meaningful attention.
So, go for it, the booths open at 8am and close at 6pm. If you're isolating with COVID-19 after a positive test, you can register online for a secure telephone vote, available on Saturday from 8am to 6pm.
For those voting in person, there are two ballot papers you need to complete. You need to number all boxes on the House of Representatives ballot paper from 1 to 8 and for the senate you can either choose to number six boxes above the line or 12 below it. Once you're done, head outside and enjoy that democracy sausage - and democracy itself.
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