On Monday, the starting gun goes off for the Federal Election when pre-polling opens its door to its first customers.
With just two weeks to go until polling day, the candidates are starting to ramp up their campaigns, but the rise of pre-polling means it's not just restricted to the last day of the election.
This week alone the Illawarra Mercury was invited to five press calls in Cunningham and Whitlam, plus another this morning (Saturday).
Promises are being thrown around like candy, and they are coming earlier than previous federal election campaigns because our politicians have half an eye on pre-polling behaviour.
In 2019 the number of voters who chose to pre-poll compared to 2013 jumped a massive 84 per cent in Cunningham, and by 45 per cent in Gilmore.
The local elections in 2021 saw a massive turnout for pre-polling caused by those wishing to avoid COVID. It's expected a third will make their voice heard before May 21, and the number could be much higher with no punishment for those who pre-poll just because they feel like it. We live in the age of Netflix and immediate gratification. We're trained to get things done in our own time. An election is no different.
But our politicians are playing a game of several parts. There's the long game aimed at the Saturday morning democracy sausage crowd and then the unknown. The ones who will make their vote when they feel like it.
Well planned messages could very well miss their mark if they land after you've made your choice.
So we're in for a week of more attention-grabbing because it's game on.
- Gayle Tomlinson
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