The democracy sausage has become so well recognised and expected in Australian culture, that in the 24 hours leading up to the 2 July 2016 federal election Twitter changed its emoji for #ausvotes from a ballot box to a sausage lying on a slice of white bread topped with sauce. In December 2016 the Australian National Dictionary Centre selected "democracy sausage" as its Australian Word of the Year for 2016.
Australians always vote on a Saturday, and voting is compulsory, so there is always a big voter turnout, for both state and federal elections. Many of the polling places are located at schools, community halls and churches, so the groups whose facilities are used for polling booths often take advantage of the large number of people coming to their location, and set up stalls to raise funds for their groups. For many community groups this is the biggest fundraising event of the year.
Sausages on bread are not the only items sold at the election day stalls. Voters can also purchase cakes, drinks and other food items such as vegetarian and gluten free options. Various websites and social media accounts have been set up to help the public locate which polling booths have stalls and what will be available at them, so that they can choose a polling location according to their food choices. At the 2 July 2016 federal election, one such site recorded 2301 polling booths as having sausages and/or cakes available, and another recorded 2094, each of which is over one-third of the total number.
Some cake stalls sell themed sweets which are named as a play on politicians' names such as Alba-Cheesy Cakes (Anthony Albanese), Malcolm Turnovers, Malcolm Turnballs (Malcolm Turnbull), Plebislice (referring to a plebiscite), Jacqui Lambingtons (Jacqui Lambie), Tanya Plibiscuits (Tanya Plibersek), and Richard Di Nutella Fudge (Richard Di Natale).
In 1989, Peter Dowding, then Premier of Western Australia, was forced to deny accusations the Labor Party was bribing voters with free sausages and drinks before the state election that year. Police investigated whether a "free family sausage sizzle" held a week before the election breached the Electoral Act. The saga continued when Dowding accused state Liberal Party leader, Barry MacKinnon, of being photographed during the campaign wearing a barbecue hat and apron, therefore "being involved in the dissemination of sausages".
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