An amateur at the polling booth

An Obadiah Slope Column

Obadiah has been hanging around outside a couple of prepoll centres in his “yes” teeshirt, and he has some tales from the hustings to share with you. He’s not staffing his local pre poll which is deep in Alboland but has headed west.

Covering his nakedness: His amateurish stance shows up in his wardrobe. So far, he has been given a hat from a well-wisher voter (because he forgot to wear his hat on a very hot day) and he’s been lent a jacket (because another day was freezing).

A tip for handing out how-to-vote leaflets: smile, seek eye contact and say hello – it works.

One group the “no” campaign has 100 per cent of: people who yell from cars speeding past the prepoll centre – often with fingers in fascinating positions.

Drama: late on Friday, there was a loud crash on the road outside; a car ran into a delivery man’s electric bike, and a bunch of voters and Yes campaigners rushed to help. Hopefully, a sore shoulder was the only injury, but the ambulance and two police vehickles came. Both were impressively fast. (The no campaigners had left early due to the rain.)

Purple prose: A few “Yes” signs feature the colour purple – and this has caused tension from the “No” team at one of the pre-poll centres Obadiah has been haunting. One sign got ripped down by the main “No-man.” (Some “no” campaigners think they think they are illegal.)

Obadiah tries to set a standard of just being pleasant and not being provoked. The purple sign, rather battered, ended up at the further end of the pre-poll frontage where the pre-poll admin officer asked us to put it.
Obadiah contributed to peace by leaning an “A-frame” against a hedge – hiding a fugitive patch of purple corflute until a well-organised volunteer with a battery-powered drill came along and replaced it with the standard black and red “Yes” sign.
“I don’t want to be on Twitter,” the official said, asking us to hide it. She clearly has seen what one of the “no” campaigners, who has been doing a LOT of socials to his quite large twitter following, put up featuring her on the purple question.
(The purple signs are legal and authorised by the electoral commission, they just like us to keep them well away from their official signs.)

Here’s a secret: about a third of the no team is being paid to hand out their how-to-votes. Apparently, a certain large party normally does that at state and federal elections.

Getting on okay: Camaraderie has built between the “yes” and “no” teams as the days pass. Sharing food and drink. We suffer long hours together. The “yes” team rotates shifts, but the poor outnumbered (five or six to one) “noes” tend to stay longer.

Promotion: Obadiah never made it to school prefect but was finally chuffed to be the booth captain at the public school around the corner from where he picks up the balls at disability tennis each Saturday. He’s made it 100m up the appropriately named Welfare Avenue!