West Australians head to the polls
Polling gets underway in Subiaco and at stations throughout WA. Photo: Aleisha Orr
West Australian voters are heading to almost 800 polling booths around the state on Saturday amid hopes there will be increased participation in this election.
Fixed election dates were passed into law in WA in late 2011, meaning future governments could not choose a polling day for their own advantage and cementing the date of state elections as the second Saturday in March every four years.
Although more than 1.41 million voters are enrolled this year, some 240,000 eligible people are not.
Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately said getting ready for the big day had taken a huge effort, including preparing the largest count centre in WA history.
It's in line with a surge in the boom state's surging population, with 1,000 to 1,500 people moving to WA each week.
"This is a monster undertaking," Mr Gately said.
The count will be handled by 1300 staff, and 6.4 million ballot papers have been printed to cover ordinary and absent vote lodgement - a trend that is up around the country as more people find it difficult to make it to a polling place.
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The WA Electoral Commission hopes more young people will vote, after only 71 per cent of people aged 18-25 did so at the 2008 election. It's aiming for at least 80 per cent participation this time.
And it has gone out of its way to catch fly-in, fly-out workers and holiday makers, with polling booths at all of Perth's six airport terminals, including charter services, staying open for 16 hours starting from 4am.
WA is the only state in Australia to offer drive-in voting for people with mobility issues.
The WAEC started the award-winning service in 2001.
This year, it will be offered at nine centres across the metropolitan area, from Rockingham in Perth's south to Joondalup in the north.
Mobile polling was offered in 83 remote sites around the vast state, including at indigenous communities, mine sites and stations, right up until 6pm on Friday.
The most remote voting occurred on the Northern Territory border at the Kiwirrkurra community.
Polling places opened on Saturday at 8am and will close at 6pm.