We had a federal election here on Saturday. Voting is compulsory in Australia, and while some people in other countries think that’s terrible, the truth is, you don’t HAVE to vote — you just have to turn up to vote and get your name ticked off. Once you’re given your ballot slips to fill out, you can do whatever you want — write nothing, do an informal viote (ie fill it out wrong or incompletely, or whatever. You just have to do your duty and turn up. Otherwise, unless you have a good reason (illness, religious objections, etc) you will be fined.
The polling stations in my area are mostly primary (elementary) schools, and when you turn up to vote, it’s a bit like a fete — there are kids running around and playing, and games taking place — all quite impromptu.
The people handing out how-to-vote pamphlets are not allowed on the premises or in the schoolyard — they have to stay outside on the footpath, so going to vote ends up being quite a lay-back, friendly affair.
There might be music playing, or the kids might put on a show, and the schools and the parents’ organizations generally use the occasion to raise a bit of money, so there are cake stalls, produce stalls, plant stalls, and more. Some schools even advertise. . .
One year I bought a jar of the best marmalade I’d ever eaten, and though I know the parent who made that has long gone — their child would have finished school by now — I still live in hope of finding another such wonderful jam. But the stall most of us look forward to is the sausage sizzle.
It’s just a sausage in a slice of bread with maybe fried onions, mustard and/or tomato sauce (ketchup), and as they’re being sold on election day, they’re called “Democracy sausages.” The name is just a bit of a joke, really. We Aussies love our sausages (also called snags) in bread, and they’re often sold as fund-raisers. You might find the Lyons club, or a bunch of Rotarians or a church group running a sausage sizzle on a Saturday morning in the main street of a country town, for instance.
Yesterday a couple of dads were manning the griller and some mums and a few dads were doing the assembling and selling. And the lines for the “Democracy Sausages” were longer than that of those waiting to vote. It all makes for a very pleasant voting experience.
My maternal grandmother, who hailed from Forfar, made the world’s best marmalade. I’ve never had anything that even came close and no longer even try. The commercial stuff is just awful compared to hers and since I have some texture issues (usually don’t like zest or anything like minced ginger that doesn’t cook down) that only adds to the downside of most of the marmalades I don’t like. My grandma used to really cook hers down. It was just wonderful.
I bet those sausages are awesome! It sounds like a bit local party and a lot of fun :)
It’s a very pleasant way to vote, Theo. And that marmalade was made with the proper bitter oranges and was just gorgeous!