People revolt against the
by Sarah Stuart
"But I've been here for 10 minutes and I couldn't find the party I'm supposed to be voting for. I've just voted for some group I've never heard of."
She wasn't the only one. Across the State yesterday, angry electors voiced their derision of The Tablecloth -a voting paper that had booth officials and voters stumped.
Too big for the booth, too complicated to comprehend, too difficult to fold - and then it wouldn't fit through the election box slot.
Ingenious officials tried a variety of tactics. At the Bondi Beach Primary School they found a large stick to push the papers through. At a church hall in Manly they used scissors to widen the hole themselves.
Privacy was not an option for voters who had to ask neighbours for help in locating their party and then queue for officials to fold it.
Sitting on the floor outside the formal polling room at Bondi Beach was Darren Mitchelson, his ballot paper spread out in front of him.
Scanning the unwieldy monster, his eyes glazed. "This is absolutely ludicrous. Inside the booth, I couldn't even unfold it to see what was on it," he said in disgust. "It's just so stupid that I'm going to fill it out in random order so when they open it up, it will really piss them off." Outside the hall, a flustered Deborah Eldred was relieved just to have completed the process.
"I had a windmill experience in there," she said of her spin around the voting room, arms outstretched, trying to control the ballot paper. "It's just enormous. The whole thing is so complicated and everyone could see who I was voting for." The Greens may also have picked up some extra votes.
The waste of paper was irritating as many people as the inconvenience. "What a waste of resources -it's offensive," Maria Mills of Bondi thundered. "Who are all these parties and why do we have to look at their names?"
Others came out of the polling booth laughing. "It's like a Blackadder election," chuckled Ian Byrne of Manly of his favourite British comedy. "Baldrick stood for office once - there was one voter and he finished up with a majority of 19,000."
But for elderly voters the situation wasn't as comical. Sylvia Mair, 89, of North Bondi struggled to open the paper and had no chance of finding her party.