SAUSAGE Sizzles, cakes stalls and raffles were the order of the day as one of the longest election campaigns in the history of the nation came to a close last weekend.
Queues formed early on at polling places in the Myall Coast area, with some voters waiting up to an hour in line during the morning before finally casting their ballots.
Volunteers in colourful campaign shirts were out in force handing out how-to-vote cardsand greeting the constant stream of voters.
Celebrating his 18th Birthday on the day of the election, Noah Pholi-Harris from Bundabahwas one of the nation’s youngest voters.
Noah arrived at the polling place in Bulahdelah after a special birthday breakfast, excited and well-prepared having researched the candidates and political parties.
“It’s a new experience and it is important to have a say in the future of this country,” Noah said.
“I discussed the choices with my father, listened to his opinion and took it all into considerationand voted in a way that best fittedwith the issues that I think are important.”
Noah said he was a little overwhelmed at the size of the Senate ballot paper, but was confident he had completed thevoting slipscorrectly.
“I feel really excited about casting my ballot papers and I feelI have now contributed to a significant decision for the country,” he said.
Noah told News of the Area he was glad his birthday fell on Election Day rather than having to wait a few more years for the next opportunity to vote.
Of the 15.6 million people enrolled to vote in last weekend’s election, 963,000 were first-time voters.
Although some voters in the area experienced long queues, the staff at the Tea Gardens polling booth said the constant flow of voters during the morning was as expected.
“The crowds we’ve had here today have been reasonable, but nothing out of the ordinary,” they said.
“The lines have averaged about 30-40 people in one go, but it’s all flowing smoothly.”
The counting of votes commenced immediately after the polling places closed at 6.00pm.
By Daniel SAHYOUN