*Pic: image from here ~ http://www.peo.gov.au/learning/parliament-now/hot-topics.html

Peter Lewis writing in ABC’s the Drum declared ~ “This election campaign is over. It’s just got a long way to go.” [1]

At 55 days long, this Federal election is not a snap in the poll.

But why risk such a bloody long election campaign, where so much could go wrong?

And why would Peter Lewis consider the campaign is over?

In a couple of words, the answer is ~ pre-poll voting.

Voting in Australia is changing, with a growing number of people voting well before election day.

Nathaniel Reader, writing in The Conversation observed, “The statistics are remarkable. At the 2013 federal election, 2.5 million Australians voted before election day – an increase of one million from the 2010 numbers.” [1]

The 2014 Victorian state election saw 25% of Victorians voting early. [1]

With so many more voters casting their poll before election day, the real campaign may blow it’s main trumpets before pre-polling begins, because as people vote, subsequent campaigning will lose it’s punch, as there is a steadily decreasing number of voters to be won over.

This trend may therefore become the norm, so that the parties can win votes before people start voting at pre-polling stations.

This approach to elections, both State and Federal, may work to the advantage of the larger parties, but the small parties and independents would appear to be at a distinct disadvantage.

This is because the parties religiously maintain a strong presence at pre-polling stations, for the whole period of the pre-poll voting.

If this demand on volunteers begins to put a strain on numbers available, the impact may show up in party membership and candidate support.

It is one thing to have the carnival of the election on polling day, with cake stalls and how-to-vote cards flying like confetti, but the voting marriage ceremony gets a tad tiring when it’s stretched out over a couple of months and may lead to party members quietly seeking a divorce.

The expense of pre-polling and the toll on volunteers willing to undertake pre-poll trench warfare over a number of weeks, may well lead to a voting revolution.

Council polls in Tasmania are now run by postal ballot.

What if Council voting was moved on-line with a secure site?

Banks run secure sites for people to deal with their money and the iTunes store is carefully managed.

If pre-poll voting is here to stay, whether on-line or in person, long campaigns may be here to haunt our political future.

Whether all voting will move to the Internet, remains to be seen.

Internet voting has not been tested yet, but the cost of pre-polling may lead to a trial on the web.

Internet voting may deliver more democracy than the tangled web now being woven by pre-poll voting, which innevitably must favour the major parties.

Now we wait to see how many people will vote before the poll this year’s Federal election.

How different will the outcome of this election be, compared to days gone by when voters pencilled their ballots on the day of the poll.

REFERENCES ~

[1] ‘This election campaign is over – it’s just got a long way to go’
Peter Lewis, 16 June 2016, The Drum ABC Online
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-16/lewis-this-election-campaign-is-over/7515634

[2] ‘Why more and more Australians are voting before election day’
Nathaniel Reader, 4 Feb 2015, The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/why-more-and-more-australians-are-voting-before-election-day-37159

RECENT ARTICLES ON THE MATTER ~

‘Pre-polling gains popularity, but makes life harder for politicans and parties’
Zareh Ghazarian, 26 May 2016, The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/pre-polling-gains-popularity-but-makes-life-harder-for-politicans-and-parties-59172

‘Parties pivot to capture pre-poll votes’
Paula Matthewson, 6 Jun 2016, The DRUM ABC Online
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-06/matthewson-parties-pivot-to-capture-pre-poll-votes/7479894

Kim Peart ‘was raised in Howrah from 1952, when there were farms there. Finding adventure in Scouts and Army Cadets, Kim later pursued art and founded a Viking Society in Tasmania in 1975, pursuing history and culture. In 1976 Kim saw an ad for space settlement and signed up to be a space development advocate. Environmental matters came later and figuring out how we can live in harmony with Nature. Earth matters and space issues merged in 2006 when Kim wrote his document ~ Creating A Solar Civilisation ~ exploring how we can only achieve a sustainable human presence on Earth, by building a sustainable industrial presence beyond Earth. Kim now lives in Ross with his wife, Jennifer, where an interest is taken in the Ross Bridge and other history, as well as a local space project on our land and using the virtual worlds to connect globally with like-minded people, to plan local action toward creating a celestial future and winning back a safe Earth. The adventure has only just begun.’