I worked at a polling station for the Western Australian state elections on Saturday, so I've decided to Blog the Election, just like a REAL blogger. I feel so hardcore. Of course there's a slight time delay, since the polling station didn't have a phone line, much less computers, but I took notes and the information should be up on the blog just in time to be completely irrelevant.
Not that this election is much to write home (or to the Internet) about. It brings to mind a quote by verteran ABC political analysts Roy Slaven and HG Nelson: "It's a choice between proven failure and potential disaster." They were speaking about a Federal election, but both of the main candidates for this state election are so hopeless that the quote is probably more appropriate here.
In the spirit of political irrelevance and mediocrity, I will eschew the normal talk of politicians and policy, and present this special Blandwagon feature called 'Faces of Democracy'.
1. Scary Old Half-Naked Muscle Man.
SOHNMM came in wearing nothing but footy shorts, sneakers, a backpack and one of those dark brown tans that suggest that the only reason he's still walking around is because the skin cancers are fighting over who gets to do him in first.
It's democracy, people. It's the one day when the voice of every citizen must be heard, and we as a people determine the future direction of our society. It's special. Would it KILL you to mark the occasion by putting on a shirt?
It wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't given in to the mysterious drive that overpowers every old man and highpanted himself. I didn't think it was even possible to highpant yourself with footy shorts. Apparently I was wrong.
2. Suspicion Lady
Suspicion Lady: Why do they use pencils in the polling both and not pens.
Me (Thinking): Because when the polling station closes, we open the boxes and change the votes to whatever we want. I think by ten o'clock tonight you will have voted for the Support NAMBLA Party.
Me (Speaking): Because pencils don't clog or dry up.
Suspicion Lady: But pencil can be rubbed out.
Me: (Thinking): Yes. Yes it can. MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Me (Speaking): The ballot boxes are sealed until the station closes, then they're only opened under the supervision of outside scrutineers. There aren't any opportunities to alter them.
Suspicion Lady: Hmph (exeunt unconvinced).
Me (Thinking): Die, Suspicion Lady! Die!
Me (Speaking): Have a nice day.
3. Crazy Old Italian Men
COIMs cause problems at every election. It's not that they don't know who to vote for - they've been Labor men their entire lives. Geoff Gallop could have promised the mandatory culling of everyone over the age of 65, and they still would have voted for him. It's transcended mere habit and become encoded in their genes.
But the simple truth is that they've spent the last fifty years spelling their names to government officials who can't understand their impenetrable accents, and today is the day when they decide that they WON'T TAKE ANOTHER MINUTE OF IT! If you ask them to write their name down on the scrap paper provided, they react as if you'd just asked them to go back to Italy and fetch their birth certificate. They simply gesticulate wildly and loudly repeat something that could be their surname, their first name, their street address or an imprecation to the patron saint of irritable old Mediterraneans.
Their wives are generally better prepared. They stomp up to the desk and wordlessly slap down a pension card, with all their details in neat, machine-printed block letters. Bless 'em.
A middle-aged man comes to my desk and gives me a surname. I look it up, but there's only one entry for that surname and the name next to it is 'Valerie'. How do I explain this to him? I suppose Valerie could be a male first name in some parts of Eastern Europe, but the man doesn't sound Eastern European, and he certainly doesn't look Eastern European, so I have a slightly closer look and SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP YOU'RE A WOMAN!
Just before the close of polling, Batman comes in. He's a lot shorter than he looks on TV. He makes a beeline for the Jelly Babies of Democracy on my desk while a man claiming to be his father (I thought Batman's father was dead?) collects his voting papers.
I wonder how someone who's only three feet tall can drive a big car like the Batmobile. Perhaps it's smaller than it appears.