Tuesday, 10 May 2022

The early voting centre

near me was crowded yesterday - and not in a good way.

I had to return the Senior Cat's postal voting papers and I wanted to be sure he was marked off the roll. There have been too many instances of a deceased person's vote being used for me to feel comfortable about anything other than getting this done immediately.

It was for that reason I headed off to the local early voting centre. It is in a church hall not far from here.  

The place was crowded - but not with early voters. I actually had some difficulty finding somewhere I could park the trusty tricycle. There were so many A-frames advertising candidates, leaders, parties and slogans that it was like trying to negotiate a maze. I finally found a place on the far side of the centre. There were not as many A-frames there but I still had to weave my way through eleven of them  in order to enter the building. 

In doing so I also had to run the gauntlet of people trying to thrust "how to vote" fliers into my paws. I kept telling them "I have not come to vote" and "I am not here to vote" but they kept trying anyway. 

This took so long the person I needed to see had gone off "for a quick lunch break. She should be back in about ten minutes."

I went to the Post Office a little further down the road and paid a bill before returning and going through almost the same process all over again. I lined up like a good little cat and waited my turn. The Returning Officer was back from lunch. We dealt with the issue, sharing mutual condolences over each losing a parent. I signed the necessary form.  

"If you want to vote now..." told me with a wave of the hand. Did I? Yes please! I knew what I wanted to do. I've done my homework. I am not going to change my mind between now and election day. I lined up again - for the third time. There were only three people ahead of me and they moved straight off. 

"Over there," I was told. I went across to the official marking names off and handing out the papers. He looked at me and said, "Hello Cat."

I looked at a vaguely familiar face. He smiled. "We went to school together - but I was two years above you."

"House captain - but not for my house," I said. I couldn't remember his name but that didn't matter. He handed over the papers. There was no time to talk which is probably just as well. At least I remembered that much.

I filled out my ballot papers, put them in the right boxes and prowled out cautiously. Nobody bothered me on the way out. I unlocked the trike and took a moment to look at what was going on. There were more than fifty A-frames dotted around that I could actually see - and probably more elsewhere. There were thirteen people I could count handing out "how to vote" fliers. 

This was the early voting centre. Polling day is not until the 21st. I looked at the slogans dotted around. Most of them are offensive and make accusations that are unwarranted and often downright untrue. There is more advertising of a similar nature along the road - a busy road.

This campaign is the nastiest I have ever known. I am relieved I was offered the opportunity to vote early. Now I can concentrate on helping those I had to assist in the state election. It is not going to be easy helping them understand what it is all about and still making sure they make their own decisions.

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