Pre polling: Good or bad for main street business?
THE experience of pre-polling in Maclean's River St has changed the minds of some shop owners who feared it could hurt business.
Birdcage employee Rachel Sykes, whose front door was close to the 6m exclusion zone from the polling booth for volunteers, said business initially feared the poll would drive off customers.
"We've been surprised," she said. "We thought people would cross the road to avoid people handing out pamphlets.
"Instead it's actually been quite busy. It's good to have more people in the street."
Ms Sykes said there had been some issues with the candidates' signs creating congestion on the streets, but this had been fixed when retailers pointed out the issue.
On the footpath, pre-poll party volunteers said the decision to hold the pre-polling in the main street was a mixed blessing, said ALP volunteer Graeme East.
"It's better than the Civic Centre in one respect," Mr East said. "It's not on the side of a hill so older people are able to get out of their cars more easily.
"But it's still too narrow on the footpaths and with the six metre exclusion area (volunteers are forbidden to come closer than six metres to the polling booth), it can create some congestion when its busy."
He said the shop would be a polling place tomorrow.
NO DEMOCRACY SAUSAGE
But Mr East said their would be no democracy sausage at this polling booth.
"There won't be any space for anyone to set up a barbecue," he said.
Mr East it was said it was obvious people many people were voting early and had made their minds up.
It was something he noted at the March state election.
"On polling day it was actually pretty quiet," he said. "And it seems to be a little quieter now, because I think a lot of people have voted.
PRE POLLING ENCOURAGED SAYS VOLUNTEER
Mr East, who has volunteered on polling days for the past 20 years, has a theory the Australian Electoral Commission encouraged pre-poll voting.
"Why does the electoral commission make it so easy to vote early, if it doesn't want to encourage more of it?" he said.
"I think what they're actually wanting to do is phase out postal voting," he said.
"That's what delays the election result, counting the postal votes.
"If you've got three weeks to cast a pre-poll vote, why would you need a postal vote.
"They're time consuming and a weeny bit archaic."
As well as handing out how to votes, the volunteers have also been busy directing people to the right shop to vote.
"Quite a few people have gone into the bank (BCU.credit union) to vote," Mr East said.
VOLUNTEERS' CROSS PARTY RAPPORT
He said the main thing he noticed while volunteering at Maclean the rapport between polling volunteers from the different party.
"It's really friend and good natured," he said.
A few metres down the footpath Nationals volunteer Vicki Gulaptis, agreed enthusiastically.
"It's a lot different here to Sydney and Canberra, thank goodness," she said.
As the wife of the State Member for Clarence, Mrs Gulaptis, has experienced the full range of polling booth behaviours.
"I would have to say I prefer it here, it's much friendlier," she said. "You get a chance to catch up with people and do it all with a smile on your dial."
About 20 metres down the street another group of volunteers were catching potential voters.
"Fiona Leviny, independent farmer and businesswoman," said Ms Leviny's husband and volunteer how to vote card distributor Michael Rowe to shoppers as they passed.
"Of the six polling booths this is is by far the friendliest. In Lismore it was a lot more 'interesting'
"Up there we had people shouting at us and the volunteers from the different parties stuck to themselves."
Nearby volunteers, Noel Johnson for the Nationals and the ALP's Susan Howland also agreed.
"This is how it should be," Mr Johnson said. "People should be able to have different political views and be able to enjoy each other's company."
Ms Howland said it was also good to see local businesses in the main street supporting the volunteers.
"Yesterday the pizza shop sent us all some pizzas in the afternoon," she said. "It was lovely."
Who will you vote for in Page at the 2019 Federal election?
This poll ended on 17 May 2019.
FIONA LEVINY - Independent
ALISON WATERS - Animal Justice Party
PETER WALKER - Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
JOHN MUDGE - United Australia Party
DANIEL REID - Greens
KEVIN HOGAN - Nationals
PATRICK DEEGAN - Labor
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.