Saturday, August 21, 2010

On things I noticed at the polling booth

Today I handed out how to votes for about three hours at our local polling booth. If I was a social researcher I would give you all some kind of insightful analysis, but instead I give you things I noticed and felt like commenting on.

Some families arrived together and clearly intended to vote the same way. They tended to march, tended to be led by a large man (or a man who thought of himself as large) and took only one kind of how to vote cards. Often the card was Liberal.

Some couples arrived with the same kind of large man, holding tightly to a woman and seeming to pull her along. He took how to vote cards, and she didn't. Often the card was Liberal, occasionally ALP, never Green or Get Up.

There was one Liberal volunteer (later assisted by his amusing wife, who was in no way dragged along).

There were two ALP volunteers, one pushy and wanting to talk loudly about ALP policies and why the Greens were no good. The other ALP volunteer stood as far away from him as possible in the space and chatted to the Greens volunteers and Get Up volunteers.

There were three Greens volunteers, all women, one with difficulties walking and also cold feet because she didn't have any socks on. The Greens women broke first and went to get coffee.

There were five Get Up volunteers, one of whom wore a very fine felt hat. He was going to hand out how to votes for the Greens in the afternoon, and expressed mild embarrassment that Get Up had ticked boxes for all their policy analysis for the Greens, as if it meant he had some kind of conflict. He said he was going to 'wear a different hat' in the afternoon, and for a moment I wondered if he meant it literally. The Get Up volunteers broke first at the sausage sizzle, and ate more sausages than anyone else.

All the volunteers were polite and friendly and helped the voters to get information on the other parties if requested and made sure no one's sandwich boards fell over.

Only one voter was aggressive, and he had been a Liberal voter, and could not stomach the climate change denialism of the present leadership. The Liberal volunteer stayed calm in the face of finger wagging and low-voiced anger. The voter did not take a Greens or a Labor how-to-vote.

Only one person remembered to bring snacks.

Many voters did not know the difference between Territory and Commonwealth issues.

Many parents were explaining the electoral process clearly and effectively to very young children.

Two people fell over, because the ramp faced the wrong way for easy access to the hall, so people unsteady on their feet braved the two steps. The Liberal volunteer and the Greens volunteers were the most helpful.

People in our neighbourhood have very friendly dogs.


Charlotte said...

I wish I knew who all these factions were, so that I could have enjoyed your commentary even more!

Penthe said...

Oddly enough liberal = conservative (sort of), labor = labor. Get Up are a large group of independent people on the leftish side who run around getting involved in stuff but are not a political party (although many Get Up members are also members of other parties, I think).

Penthe said...

Reading this again, I think my finding is that some male bullies are also liberal voters. Not all that suprised, actually.

Legal Eagle said...

That's interesting about the patriarch leading the clan to vote. I have to say that I've never gone to vote with my father. I respect his views, but he'd never tell me how to vote.

Wendaway said...

The highlight of my handing out "How to votes" for the ALP in Cairns, both during the three weeks of pre-poll and on polling day:

older ALP people shaken in their beliefs, looking for comfort and being able to support them;
several Sudanese, individuals, couples and one family, who for the first time in their lives had the privilege of voting, taking the privilege seriously, a valuable lesson on democracy; meeting some outstanding people and catching up with my Green and Social Aliance friends who I don't see often.
Low lights mostly occuring during pre-polling: abuse, the very worst of human nature;
being spat at, literally;
copping the needling and bullying, almost constantly but only when I was alone (I am small and grey haired, a perceived easy target), from the Fishing Party and the LNP.

I do love this activity, such a wonderful study in human nature, but I am pleased it is over this time... so much nastiness and negativity I can do without.

Wendaway said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention the wasted votes of mostly very young voters, arrogant in their attitude, in contrast to the new Australian Citizens taking advantage of their privilege, but who were obviously disengaged from the democratic process. The fault of the two major parties?

Elisabeth said...

Penthe I'm here via Pav's Cat and the strange fruit post. i thought anyone eho csan appreciate such eqxquisite writing musr be worth a visit. this post tickles my fancy. you make observations and do not pass judgment. I look at myself and think i can fit into a number of these categores, a way ward wife, a family that votes in a bloc, at least the parents - Our children old enough to vote have minds of their own - a Get Up supporter, a greenie and a lover of most things ALP, at least from the past, with a passion for female and diverse leadership, if it promotes change. Thanks, Penthe. It's good to meet you.