There Are A Few Election Winners Before The Polls Even Close

Yes, voting is glorious for some.

22/06/2016 8:08 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
AEC: Supplied
Jerry and Esau Martin (L-R) are all smiles in Arnhem Land.

Yes, voting is mandatory in this country. So yes, voting can be considered a chore for some.

But in Arnhem Land, where remote polling began on Monday, there are big grins and even bigger 'thank yous' to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) officers before people cast their vote.

"A lot of people ask why we've come out this far," Mick Sherry, Manager of the Northern Territory AEC office, told The Huffington Post Australia.

"We certainly know they're enthusiastic."

Sherry was out in the Central Arnhem Land town of Bulman on Monday, which is about 300 kilometres northeast of Katherine. With 130 electors it is one of the first remote communities to hit the polls, making them some of the first voters in the country.

Each election the AEC sends out 38 teams across the country to set up mobile polling booths in any community where there are 10 people on the electoral role or more. There are eight AEC officers based in the NT office managing the teams, who travel for two weeks and cover about 3.4 million square kilometres across five states.

Travelling by plane, car or boat, the teams of three arrive to set up the booths and recruit VIOs -- or Voter Information Officers -- through the regional council.

They're trusted by the community, said Sherry, and understand indigenous cultures and languages well. These VIOs undergo training and then help voters -- the majority being Indigenous Australians -- with any queries extending to the new senate ballot papers.

And this is where Jerry and Esau Martin, the two men donning two big grins above, come into the picture.

The Martin's were nominated by the regional council in Bulman when Sherry and the AEC team arrived. The pair underwent training, signed political neutrality forms, and begin helping fellow residents vote.

"The lads explained it really well to voters in the community," Sherry said.

"They'll continue to work. I remember one saying to me he really enjoyed the training and now he now understands more extensively how to vote," Sherry said.

Jerry and Esau were unemployed before remote polling kicked off, said Sherry, so the pair are not only thrilled to be on the job but receiving a pay check at the end of the campaign. And it looks like they've been having a grand old time helping the 130 other electors cast their vote.

AEC: Supplied
Esau and Jerry Martin help Bulman local, Annette, cast her vote.

AEC: Supplied
And some more Bulman locals.

AEC: Supplied
A remote polling booth in Bulman.

AEC: Supplied
A Bulman resident casts his vote.

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