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Democracy delivered by truck to a polling booth near you

The Bourke and Walgett early voting polling booths are open all week at Bourke PCYC and Walgett CWA rooms. Handing out how-to-vote cards at the early voting at the Walgett CWA hall - Brittany Jones, Ian Jones, Kylie McKenzie and Anicia Brown. Photos TWH

Managing the voting processes for a state election across the Barwon electorate, with the land mass of Germany, is no mean feat.

The logistics require a convoy of trucks covering thousands of miles, delivering everything from computers and technology, to the cardboard booths, the ballot slips - even the pencils to fill in those important candidate preferences.

NSW State Electoral Commissioner, John Schmidt, has spent months making sure every polling booth across the Barwon electorate is equipped and staffed, and although there are still booths requiring staff he was confident all would be ready for election day on this Saturday March 25.

“This state election is the largest public participation event people will be experiencing in NSW this year, with about five and a half million voters taking part,” Mr Schmidt said.

“It is a huge community exercise.

“With an electorate the size of Barwon, the largest electorate in the state, there are even more challenges because of the distance and the remote locations of some of those booths.”

There are still some booths which are not fully staffed, but Mr Schmidt said he was confident they would be ready to uphold the democratic process. He said anyone who was interested in working on election day should check the electoral commission website to apply, and training would be provided to ensure every booth would be operational.

“The challenges really come down to remoteness and technology,” Mr Schmidt said.

“We have to get the materials out to set up the polling places - there’s the ballot papers themselves, the booths people go into to vote, there’s the computer equipment and for early voting there are electronic mark-offs, so we must see what arrangements have to be made so we have connectivity back to the main Sydney office and have backups if they drop out.

“We’ve been going through all those logistics in getting the materials out to Barwon communities over the last few days - we plan, we look at the locations that the material has to go through and what we have to do to get through to some of those places, so we literally have the guys out there driving those trucks, who’ve been doing it for many years with transport companies used to carrying this sort of material.

“We have to plan the most efficient route, plan appropriate breaks so they’re not exhausted and then we must transport all this material back after polling day.

“It’s a logistical exercise across the state as a whole, but particularly challenging in more remote regional areas,” Mr Schmidt said.

The Barwon electorate covers 44 per cent of the state and includes the shires of Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Bogan, Cobar, Coonamble, Warren, Bogan, Gilgandra, Lachlan, Cobar and Central Darling, Narrabri, the City of Broken Hill as well as the large, remote Unincorporated Far West Region.

In the Bourke Shire, the polling booths will be operating at the Bourke Public School Hall in Green Street and the Enngonia Public School in Belalie Street,

In Brewarrina, polling booths are at the Brewarrina Visitor Information Centre, Weilmoringle Public School and Goodooga Central School and in the Walgett Shire at Lightning Ridge Central School, the Walgett Community College High School and the Cumborah Recreation Reserve Trust.

Early and pre-poll voting is available at the Bourke PCYC in Wilson Street and at the Walgett CWA rooms in Pitt Street, Walgett, from 8.30am until 5.30pm.

For more details on where to vote visit or call your local council.

The NSW State election is on Saturday, 25 March and you must vote or complete your postal vote certificate by 6pm. Absentee voting is available at all booths on election day.


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