During winter, our Antarctic stations are ice-bound and isolated.
So, how do our expeditioners get to vote on election day?
Each station has two volunteer Returning Officers appointed by the Australian Electoral Commission.
Sam Sanders, Assistant Returning Officer, Casey station:
I’m Sam, 28 years old…actually no, that’s a lie. I’m 27 (laughs). Sam Sanders, 27 years old, from Melbourne, and I’m the Bureau of Meteorology technician down here at Casey station.
Craig Butsch, Returning Officer, Casey station:
G’day, my name’s Craig Butsch, I’m 46 years old, from Darwin, originally from Melbourne, and I’m down here at Casey station with the Bureau of Meteorology as the senior meteorological observer.
The Casey polling booth has a view over the sea ice.
So we’ll be voting later on today. We’ve set up the booth down at the wharf, and we’re ready to roll.
This year a total of 49 expeditioners are registered to vote as ‘Antarctic electors’.
The AEC emails ballot papers for each voter to the Returning Officers, who print them out.
So people down here at Casey will be voting with a paper ballot. They’ll be placing it in the secured ballot box, and the next day myself and my assistant Sam will be counting the votes and then phoning them through to the AEC in Hobart.
Yeah look, I think it’s really nice to be involved in what’s going on back in Australia, and voting is a nice way of doing that, and it’s good to be involved.
It’s a little bit cold today, so we won’t be having a sausage sizzle but we will be having brunch. We’ll get our sausages, but it’ll be an inside-brunch-sausage instead of an outside-democracy-sausage-sizzle-sausage. (laughs)