Pre-election summary - here to help you vote

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser

It’s finally here.

After weeks of campaigning, voters head to the polls on Saturday to have their say on who they think should represent them in parliament.

This time around nine candidates have stepped forward to challenge for the seat of O’Connor, with each hoping to get the chance to represent more than 100,000 voters.

Sitting MP Rick Wilson, who enters his third election, heads into the vote with a hefty historical lead, after a 15 per cent swing towards him in 2016.

Mr Wilson said if re-elected, his focus would be on continuing to fill-in mobile black spots across the region – after his party built 78 towers across the region since 2013.

Of his likely closest rivals, WA Nationals candidate John Hassell said his focus for Albany would be on upgrading major roads.

The Australian Labor Party’s Shelley Payne said tackling a rising cost of living was in her sights, claiming business profits had risen by 39 per cent in recent years – while wages had grown only five percent.

In The Australian Greens camp, candidate Nelson Blake Gilmour said tackling climate change would be vital for farmers and communities in the next few years.

O’Connor, an electorate larger than New South Wales, is one of the safest conservative seats in Australia – with the Liberal Party picking up a win in 13 of 14 elections since 1980.

Following an Australia-wide trend, early voting in Albany spiked this year – with 25 per cent more people choosing to submit their ballot early than last year.

The regular major issues have come out again this time around, with climate change, jobs and live-trade considered the most important issues among country voters.

One thing we do know is, whichever way the vote goes the Albany Ring Road will get built. The ALP followed the Coalition’s lead in the week heading into the vote, pledging to build it if elected.

But not all candidates have had scandal-free runs to the poll. In an election race where one candidate said trust was a big issue is this time around, there was public disappointment when another candidate was revealed to have chosen to print his election material overseas.

Whichever way the vote goes, Albany Advertiser hopes its readers get out and participate in democracy on Saturday.

Australia’s democracy is one of the strongest in the world, and this year’s vote has recorded the highest voter enrolment percentage in the country’s 118-year history.

Getting out and having your say on election day is important, and can be done at these (all wheelchair accessible) locations:

Albany Sea Rescue Hall, Albany Senior Citizens Centre, Albany Surf Life Saving Club, Centennial Park PCYC, Denmark Recreation Centre, Flinders Park Primary School, Elleker Hall, Great Southern Grammar, King River Hall, Little Grove Primary School, Mt Lockyer Primary School, Albany Primary School, Napier Hall, Narrikup District Hall, Spencer Park Primary School, Yakamia Primary School and Youngs Siding Hall.

Polls open at 8am and close at 6pm sharp.

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