THE BALLOT BOX: the voting process when you go to cast a vote.
THE BALLOT BOX: the voting process when you go to cast a vote. Christopher Chan

All you need to know about casting a vote in Flynn

Polling day sweeteners: food stalls

The nine candidates for Flynn

AUSTRALIA has been on mass countdown for the Federal Election since Kevin Rudd announced the date back in early August (and even before that, from when Julia Gillard announced another date in January.)

If you haven't taken advantage of pre-polling or postal votes, then you'll be heading down to one of the many polling booths throughout the Gladstone region on Saturday to be part of the democratic decision on who will lead the country for the next three years.

The parties have had their time over the last five weeks to convince you as to why they're the best choice to govern.

In Flynn, we've heard policies, we've heard funding promises, we've been littered with advertising material and automated phone calls from both sides of the division.

But at the end of the day, it's all down to you, and which numbers you put in those little boxes.

Our nine candidates will still be out at the polling booths on Saturday, handing out how-to-vote cards in as much of the Flynn electorate as they can visit before they head to their respective headquarters to watch the live tally count from 6pm.

Here's some food for thought on what the rest of Flynn is thinking so far.

Online bookmaker Sportsbet is already paying out on a Coalition win overall, as well as in Flynn.

LNP candidate for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.
LNP candidate for Flynn Ken O'Dowd. Luka Kauzlaric

The Palmer United Party is next in the Flynn race at $19, while all other candidates are sitting at $41.

Pre-counting of postal vote figures is also setting the Coalition ahead by a huge margin, with figures up to September 5 showing more than 3300 votes against Labor's 863.

Despite the surveys and polls, Mr Trevor has a strong support base through social media, with many individuals declaring their support for him and some of the Labor's policies that vary strongly from the LNP, especially his support for marriage equality.

While some believe a revolt against Labor is on the rise, Flynn is still a marginal seat.

The last time around - when the same two major party candidates, who now have both "had a go" in the top seat - went head to head in the 2010 election Mr Trevor was in the lead by 9000 votes when the Tally Room finished on polling day.

But fast forward to more than a week later and counting was still going for the seat of Flynn but Mr O'Dowd was in the lead - he ended up winning by just over 5500 votes.

ALP candidate for Flynn Chris Trevor.
ALP candidate for Flynn Chris Trevor. Luka Kauzlaric

We will be on the ground during the day talking to voters before catching up with our candidates as the count begins to unfold.

Click here for our federal election guide to the seat of Flynn, and here for full coverage of the lead-up to the 2013 election.

Where to vote?

NEED to find a polling place in the seat of Flynn?

Check out the full list here, in alphabetical order.

Polling booths are open from 8am to 6pm.

Polling day sweeteners: food stalls

HITTING the polling booth may mean you are faced with a difficult choice.

Luckily, schools across Gladstone have been busy preparing fundraisers to make election day a little sweeter.

The kitchen-savvy families of Gladstone South State School are hosting a cake stall, as well as a plant sale and a sausage sizzle, to raise money for a new playground for the junior grades.

Across town at Chanel College, a book sale begins at 8am, running through to 2pm.

A bag of books will cost $5 or individually from just 50 cents.

The sale is aimed at funding various social justice projects and new resources for the library.

"A great variety of books will be on sale: children's, fiction, non-fiction, university textbooks, craft and many more," Mickey Meehan from Chanel College said.

"And there's good reads for young and not so young, so don't miss it."

Tannum Sands State High School and Clinton State School will also be hosting sausage sizzle fundraisers on polling day.

The polling booths open at 8am, so make sure you get in early to grab the best bargain.

Voting continues until 6pm at all locations, but the cakes, snags and other treats aren't guaranteed to last as long.

So choose wisely on election day - and don't forget to vote too.

The nine candidates for Flynn: facts and campaign quotes

Craig Tomsett, Independent

"If people cannot see the injustice of what is happening to genuine refugees, then maybe they will understand the economics of the issue."

Kingsley Dickens, Rise Up Australia

Kingsley is involved in church life where his family attends in Kingaroy.

Ken O'Dowd, Liberal National Party

"By making a really healthy economy we can secure jobs... people and the businesses are looking for a way forward."

Duncan Scott, Independent

"It doesn't matter who's in as long as they're working for us...I think we should be more focussed on helping each other."

Serena Thompson, Australian Greens

Lives in Gin Gin where she works in the hospitality industry.

Renae Moldre, Family First

"I want to show them that people are struggling with the rising cost of basic essentials such as food, electricity and fuel."

Steve Ensby, Palmer United Party

"Gladstone's a complicated area and whatever decisions anybody makes have to be well thought out."

Richard Love, Katter Australia Party

"Our policies must be able to win votes because the other parties are stealing them...I'm quietly happy but I'm outraged."

Chris Trevor, Australian Labor Party

"The people in this electorate need the sitting member to stand up for the needs of this electorate."

The Observer has caught up with candidates vying for the marginal seat of Flynn, giving them 60 seconds to tell people why they deserve your vote. See the videos here.



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