His election day started badly because, upon arrival at the polling booth, he was unable to find a space in the car park area adjacent to the local hall. He was heard to be muttering as he reversed out and had to park some 50 metres up the road. During his short walk back to the hall he was blaming the staff at the booth who he claimed must have taken up all the parking spots.
As he walked up the pathway to the front door he was offered How-to-Vote cards by the ever-smiling voluntary party representatives. He snatched a card off each as they stepped out from under their candidate emblazoned colourful umbrellas and he stormed towards the entrance.
He found he had to join a short queue waiting to enter the voting area and this caused an outburst from him which enabled others in the queue to be well aware that ‘this whole show was a waste of time’ and that he ’would rather be out fishin’’.
When it came his turn to proceed to the registration table, he barged forward and placed his two palms on the table surface. He then belched a concoction of last night’s beer and this morning’s bacon, eggs and after brecky fag.
Before the young male Poll Clerk had a chance to offer a greeting, the disgruntled voter blurted out a surname that sounded like ‘Johnson’ and then added, Michael John.
This was the Poll Clerk’s first election and although he had been trained on what he should ask, the sight (and smell) of the person in front of him took him off guard. He fumbled with his list and looked up JOHNSON, but failed to find a Michael John.
The man in front of him was obviously getting agitated so he courageously asked how to spell the name. The reply, J.O.H.N.S.T.O.N.E. was spat out, the letters coming in quick succession.
At last Michael John Johnstone was given a voting paper and as he marched off to the nearest vacant booth he informed the Clerk and others around him that he was only doing this so he ‘wouldn’t be fined’.
He cast his vote and threw the How-to-Vote sheets on the floor. He made sure as many people as possible saw him place his folded voting paper in the box and then he stormed towards the exit still mumbling about the stupidity of the process and how ‘you couldn’t trust politicians anyway’.
Later that night as the votes were being counted, the Poll Clerks and the scruttiners wondered why a person would just put a large cross over the whole voting paper and render it informal. Perhaps, they thought, such a person did not deserve to live in a democratic country.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s the way it is.