Update: Shortly after I wrote this piece I found this article online. Some commenters remarked that they had not heard the term Democracy Sausage before and I confess that I picked it up from the Facebook poster who inspired me to write this post. However, our love of sausage sizzles on election day cannot be questioned.
Here in Tasmania, we have local government elections this month. This is particularly interesting for us in the Huon Valley as for the past couple of years we’ve had no elected councilors and the area has been run by an Administrator. This was due to problems with the previous council that ended up in all the council members being dismissed by the state government. Naturally, there is a high level of interest in this election and although voting is not compulsory we’re expecting there will be a high percentage of votes returned.
This will be a postal vote so no need to physically go to the polls and on one of the many local social media forums I’ve been following someone remarked that he was disappointed that he would not get to enjoy his democratic sausage on election day.
So what is the Democratic Sausage? I have no idea what happens in other countries but here in Australia voting normally takes place at a local school, church, hall or other public building. Elections are held on a Saturday so it is a great opportunity for community fundraising.
Where David and I used to live in Adelaide our nearest polling booth was at the local school. Whenever there was an election the school would hold a sausage sizzle and sometimes there would be cakes and handcrafts for sale as well. As voting is compulsory here in Australia, except for local government, everyone eligible has to turn up to vote at some point. Getting a sausage on a piece of bread with onion and tomato sauce somehow makes the experience less of a chore and more of a Saturday morning outing for the family. It’s also a nice little earner for the school, church, sporting club or charity so on election day the smell of barbecued sausages and onions wafts all over the country.
Our Op Shop in Geeveston is in the grounds of the local primary school and we always try to open the shop one Saturday a month for people who can’t make it on weekdays. Last time there was a state election and we found out that the school would be the polling booth we knew that was the day to open the shop.
So if your local community has a fundraiser at a polling booth I recommend that you go along. You can exercise your right to vote, catch up with friends and neighbours and enjoy the Democratic Sausage. What could be better?
Gee. That sounds a LOT friendlier than our elections. We just get to stand in line — if there are any lines — then vote. And it’s on a Tuesday which makes it tricky for people who want to vote but work a considerable distance from home.
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I’ve always found it quite enjoyable to go and vote. Having them on a Tuesday, especially in November would definitely be a turn off for hanging around to chat and eat. Maybe someone needs to start a democratic sausage movement in the USA.
Voting in most US states is more of a chore than an afternoon out. As Marilyn noted, we vote on Tuesdays. Many states have inhibited or prohibited early or mail-in voting. Anything to make it easier for everyone to vote seems to be a threat to politicians on the right. Sad to see it is still happening in our upcoming “mid-term” election. North Dakota has disenfranchised much of it’s Native American population by requiring fixed street addresses in order to be able to vote. But many residents of very rural and isolated Indian Reservations have no street address. This will make them ineligible to register to vote. Very sad indeed.
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It is very sad. I had read that it was also an issue for homeless people. It does seem as if certain parties don’t want you to vote. I sometimes think we don’t know how lucky we are to be able to cast our vote so easily. Of course it is compulsory but that means that there are many ways to cast your vote if you will be in hospital or away from home you can do a Pre-Poll vote at a designated place or a postal vote or even go to a booth in another state and still cast your vote there. And this was available before the rolls were computerised.