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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr E JAMES HARRISON (Blaxland) . - I have listened very carefully to the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth) and I am concerned by what he has said on the motion before the committee. If the committee had adopted the last proposal that was before it, namely, to close the polling booths at 6 p.m., there would have been a colossal reduction in the number of informal votes. Even if the polling booths were not closed until midnight, somebody would come in at two minutes to midnight to cast a vote. Having watched elections year after year, I am convinced that the great majority of informal votes for the Senate are cast once the shadows start to fall. The older people who come to vote at that time are not able to follow the sequence on the Senate how-to-vote card, particularly when there are fifteen or twenty names on the ballot-papers. The lighting in the boxes at the polling booths leaves a lot to be desired, and once the shadows start to lengthen there many informal votes in the Senate elections are cast. In my view, only when Senate voting is brought back to sanity by being performed in the daylight will informal voting disappear.

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