From the frozen Antarctic to the dry and remote Outback, millions of Australians will cast their ballots on Saturday in an election that poses logistical challenges in a continent-sized country. Voting is compulsory and a record 14.71 million Australians are registered to make their mark at some 7,500 polling booths set up at schools, surf clubs, church halls and community centers. But finding somewhere to vote for either incumbent Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Labor party, the conservative opposition of Tony Abbott or more than 50 other minor parties is not always easy. With many people living in far-flung locations, 38 polling teams began criss-crossing the enormous country two weeks ahead of the September 7 polling day to reach more than 400 isolated communities.
Residents of Warruwi, a Northern Territory Aboriginal community on South Goulburn Island, were among the first to cast their ballots.
Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn said the teams expected to cover more than 3.4 million square kilometers by road, air and sea to reach pastoral properties, small towns, tourist resorts and mine sites.
“A large proportion of people who vote via the Australian Electoral Commission’s remote mobile polling service live in indigenous communities with the majority in the Northern Territory,” he said.
“There are about 220 electors on the roll in Warruwi. However there are many other smaller communities, such as Mulga Bore (40 voters) and Camel Camp (23 voters) that the AEC also has a responsibility to support this election.”
Anyone who fails to vote faces fines of up to $170.
Full Article: From Antarctica to Outback, Australians must vote.