SA election: Record number of voters casting ballots in unpredictable poll
Polling booths are open across South Australia as a record number of voters decide the next government in what many see as the most unpredictable election in the state’s recent history.
Labor is trying to secure a fifth consecutive term in office, after 16 years in power, as it is challenged by Steven Marshall’s Liberals and Nick Xenophon’s new party SA Best.
Anti-Xenophon material was being handed to voters at polling booths in the Hartley electorate, where the SA Best leader is running for the Lower House.
The Australian Hotels Association has been campaigning against Mr Xenophon on the issue of reducing poker machine numbers, saying it will cost hospitality-related jobs.
Flyers are being handed to voters by paid campaigners.
Support continues to slip for SA Best, according to The Australian’s Newspoll, with the fledgling political party on 17 per cent, compared with the 32 per cent support it recorded late last year.
The poll puts Jay Weatherill ahead of Mr Marshall as preferred premier, with Mr Xenophon now trailing both as he tries to return to the SA parliament.
Mr Xenophon cast his vote at a church in the Hartley electorate, while Mr Marshall was out and about in his Dunstan electorate but had already filled in his voting papers back when prepoll stations opened.
Premier Jay Weatherill enjoyed a sausage before he lined up to vote at a booth in his Cheltenham electorate in Adelaide’s west.
Electoral boundaries have changed markedly since South Australians last went to the polls four years ago, when the Liberals won the popular vote but failed to form government.
Labor has campaigned on planned capital works of nearly $2 billion, the Liberals have committed to tax cuts and Mr Xenophon has not revealed costings, but urged voters to look at his track record at state and federal levels over two decades.
The Australian Electoral Commission said a record of more than 1.2 million South Australians are registered to vote — an increase of more than 60,000 since 2014.
Many people have already cast their ballots.
More than 215,000 people voted before election day itself — including Liberal leader Mr Marshall — 120,000 at pre-polling centres and about 95,000 by post.
The 2014 state election produced a hung parliament, and there are many people who think today’s poll might do the same.
Article originally published on abc