Over the weekend we had an election, here in Victoria. That's just in case you missed. People in Canada probably missed it, cause we nearly did here. If it wasn't a case of you have to vote, then I think most of us wouldn't of bothered. Yes here in Australia all elections are compulsory, and you get fined if you don't vote.
The voting ritual goes a bit like this. You can vote on the day between 8 am and 6 pm. And you can send you vote in via the post. [Postal vote] or you can vote outside your electorate [Absentee vote] you just have to get your name ticked off the big register, one is held at all voting centers. The voting centers are usually primary schools, church halls, kindergartens. The scrutinizers are very strict with protocol but usually kind and helpful at the same time. There are things you can't do, usually to do with persuading others to vote a particular way or not vote at all. With in the confines of the voting hall you must wait your turn to see an election official who has the register, you give them your details they asked you a couple of questions.
'have you voted today?'
'What is your address?'
Then they line you off the register, and away you go with your voting papers in your hand.
We usually have 2 pieces of paper to vote on because the states have 2 houses of parliament and so does the Commonwealth. Which is the name we give to the Federal Government in Canberra.
Once you have sorted the voting out, which can be quite confusing, due to the number of candidates. If you were to tick all the boxes in the Senate you would need to have a pencil sharpener.
Back to state election, The queue of voters ran around the school, it took 25 minutes to get inside. While you wait, spruikers for the political parties approach and offer you 'How to vote' cards, which take the pain out of voting, that's if you want to vote the way your preferred party want you to vote. This means that the preferences of the candidates/parties will be distributed to their preferred candidates if and when required.
Don't ask me to explain this system, it means there is a lot of bargaining between political parties, much to the voters chagrin.
The election results were known by mid-evening and the incumbent Labor party were re-elected with a very small decrease in seats.