News

Voter crush expected

By Simon Ruppert

They say the early bird catches the worm, however, when it comes to Benalla a better saying might be ‘‘the early voter avoids a nightmare crush on Carrier St’’.

The Ensign has discovered there will only be one place to vote on election day, at 52 Carrier St.

Election volunteers at the premises, which is also the location for pre-polling, said they were concerned about the number of people who would congregate outside on election day.

Benalla ALP Branch assistant secretary Joan Laing said volunteers handing out ‘‘how-to-vote’’ cards had already been forced to move back from the building after a visit from the Benalla Rural City compliance officer — and she was concerned as to where all the voters would fit on election day.

‘‘It’s a nightmare down there and as I understand it, it will be the only booth open in Benalla on the 18th,’’ Ms Laing said.

‘‘Goodness knows what the sausage sizzle people will do — I think one sausage might fit... but definitely not two.’’

Traditionally there has been more than one voting centre in Benalla, and they are generally held in public buildings, such as schools, which have space for voters to wait, queue and enjoy a sausage sizzle.

52 Carrier St is an office building with a standard-size footpath outside, and some worry that it will lead to people congregating in the road and queuing up around Bridge St, potentially blocking access to businesses.

One way to avoid the crowds is to vote early. The pre-polling will be open until election day.

While in the past the public have needed a ‘‘good reason’’ to vote early, this year it seems the rules, in Benalla at least, are more relaxed.

There will also be voting centres open in Swanpool, Tatong, Goorambat, Glenrowan and Violet Town.

●For a full list of voting centres, visit www.aec.gov.au