At eight o'clock in the morning, a handful of voters were waiting for polling to open at Narrabundah Early Childhood School.
Keen citizens and diligent election workers were there - but no party workers in the vicinity, handing out leaflets and joshing each other.
There was no sausage sizzle.
"There's no buzz. It's flat," said Tony Jackson who went to vote first thing on the big day itself to avoid any infectious crush.
"An Australian election is an event but this is not an event. The vibe of an election doesn't exist," he said.
But the seriousness and the importance of an election did.
Young and old went to the polling place.
Ristana Petreska doesn't speak much English even though she's been in Australia for 50 years - but she knows the word "Labor".
The migrant from Macedonia had the names of the parties read to her and when "Labor" was said, she repeated it.
"I like voting Labor. All the time, I vote for Labor," she said outside the polling place.
Two-year-old Seamus put the ballot paper in the box for his mother, Caley Shepherd. He got to keep the pencil.
The disposable pencil was one of the changes this epidemic election. COVID meant constant wiping of surfaces inside. Workers had screens.
And the big extension of pre-voting was a significant difference.
In the past, it's been an exception which voters had to justify if they were unable to vote on the day. This time, it's been available to all, and 70 per cent of eligible voters took advantage.
That meant the market for democracy sausages was much diminished, even for those few Parent and Citizens Associations which did organise the traditional event.
Sausage fizzle not sizzle
In the end, only 14 sausage sizzles took place in the 82 polling places.
North Ainslie Primary P&C would normally expect to raise around $5,000 on the day. This year, they were expecting it to be about half that, according to cake server Trudy Green.
It's not just about the money - though she said they needed that to upgrade the oval as the school has grown.
The sausage and cake stall is a focus of the wider community, she said. People come even if they aren't voting.
"It's part of a festive atmosphere. It emphasises that we know that democracy is important and voting is important," she said.
Labor's leader Andrew Barr chose the school to boost his calories and his last-minute camera appeal to voters.
The calories involved two packets of bright sugar-rushes with a lot of icing and sprinkles plus two dark chocolate and cranberry cookies.
Mr Barr and a gaggle of TV crews then walked a few hundred metres to a park on the edge of Dickson Wetland to make his final pitch, in the hope of swaying late voters via the lunchtime news.
He agreed that this election (his fifth) felt different because of the three weeks of early voting.
"The nature of the campaign - the rhythm - has had to change," he said.
"But today is still the biggest single day of voting."
He was wearing a very snazzy shirt. "It's springtime and it's a colourful shirt to represent the change of season," he said.
Mr Barr couldn't resist a swipe at Liberal leader Alistair Coe who has fronted a string of what the Liberal Party itself calls "stunts", including freezing a rates bill in a deep freeze.
"Voters want a grown-up in charge of the territory and not a stunt-man," the Labor leader said.
At the Liberals' photo-opportunity in Gunghalin, Mr Coe didn't do a stunt, beyond appearing among party workers with a somewhat guarded message: "Hi guys", "All good", "It's all good" and "It's all happening."