OPINION: Handy tips for new voters casting their ballot in Canning

For those of you who may be first-time voters or just disillusioned over the whole process - here's hoping this unofficial guide will help get you through.
For those of you who may be first-time voters or just disillusioned over the whole process - here's hoping this unofficial guide will help get you through.

For those of you who may be first-time voters or just disillusioned over the whole process - here's hoping this unofficial guide will help get you through.

We're just days away from the federal election where Canning voters will have to decide between eight candidates vying for a spot in the House of Representatives.

Already, it has been an interesting campaign.

Here in Canning, we have had our fair share of political action.

With major funding commitments from either side of politics, visits from high-profile figures and pre-polling kicking off early, there has been plenty of headline-grabbing.

Canning has seen the biggest pre-polling figures state-wide, with 11,479 people casting their ballot in the first week alone. The most popular centre has been Eastlake Church in Greenfields, which saw 7268 people vote in the first week.

While we have seen people turn out to pre-polling in droves, when it comes to election day, centres may still be packed.

But hey, what's a bit of banter in line ahead of flexing your democracy right.

Speaking of that right, if you're having a spot of bother trying to decide who to give your vote to on Saturday, check out the Mandurah Mail wrap up on each Canning candidate.

While you should review each party's policies, our piece gives you an insight into why our local candidates are putting their hands up and what they believe in. Making up your mind is one thing, the second is not forgetting to vote. Once registered, you can be fined if you fail to vote on or before election day.

Now, when you get to the voting centre you may be bombarded by roadside advertising and volunteers thrusting their party's how-to-vote cards at you.

This is generally the point where you see a voter duck and weave in an attempt to avoid all confrontation.

A couple of things here, candidates are elected by a preferential voting system. If you know who you're voting for but you have not had time to memorise their preferences - why not grab one? They spell out all you need to know.

Or you could just be prepared and visit your candidate's website or social media sites. Download one from there, memorise the order and avoid the hassle.

At the end of the day though, you can (and should) vote for whoever you want. Do not to be misled by material that is pushed at you. Preference how you wish, so long as all the boxes are numbered from one to eight as required.

Think about the candidate who will best benefit you, your family and your community.

Once inside the centre, you will get your name ticked off and you will be handed two pieces of paper.

The green one will be for the House of Representatives (your local candidates) and the long white one will be the Senate (candidates from across Western Australia).

The nation will elect 151 MPs (one from each seat) to the lower house and 33 senators (six per state and two per territory) to the upper house.

Senators have six-year terms, so a regular election - such as this one - means only half of the Senate is up for re-election.

More than 30 people have thrown their hats in the ring for the Senate from WA, so once again, voters have a long list to go through if they choose to tick below the line.

Regardless of who you pick in the top spot before or on election day, remember that voting is a privilege.

And besides, within minutes you'll have a democracy sausage sizzle in hand and be feeling great that you have had your say in the governance of your country.

Need to know: 

If you can't vote on election day, you can cast your ballot at an early voting centre from April 29, 2019. Postal vote applications are only available for eligible voters.

People in the division of Canning have four options to cast their ballot early - find them here.

For more information visit the Australian Electoral Commission website or call their national contact centre on 13 23 26 daily between 8am-8pm [AEST].

For more Mandurah Mail coverage in the lead up to the election, follow Caitlyn Rintoul on Twitter via @caitlynrintoul.

Got a tip? Get in touch with her through caitlyn.rintoul@fairfaxmedia.com.au.