Sausage with a side of democracy

Annette Tyler created the Democracy Sausage webpage for voters seeking a Sausage Sizzle on election days. Photo: Mya Kordic.

Australian voters will uphold tradition this weekend when they purchase a sausage sizzle at their local federal election polling booths, with the help of a website locating the phenomenon known as the “Democracy Sausage”.

The webpage Democracy Sausage reports where sausage sizzles will be held each election across the nation on an interactive map, alongside other food options such as cakes and coffees.

Annette Tyler co-founded the website in Western Australia the night before the 2013 state election, when she asked Twitter users to share which polling booths in Perth offered sausage sizzles.

Ms Tyler said the concept took off, prompting her and a group of friends to create a virtual map and register the name “Democracy Sausage” across social media.

“The reason we provide this service is because there is so much demand for it and because people like that we do it. People love it, which I’ve got to say is actually really nice,” she says.

The Australian Electoral Commission says more than 17.2 million Australians enrolled to vote this year, making up an estimated 96.8 per cent of the population eligible to participate in the election.

There is set to be more than 7000 polling places for 1 million more voters this year than the last federal election in 2019, that only drew 16.4 million.

The increase in numbers has seen a rise in sausage sizzle stands on offer across the country, with the Democracy Sausage website reporting there will be 1425 sausage sizzles on election day.  

Curtin Primary School P&C member Rebecca Brockman says the school’s election day food offerings will fundraise for refurbishments of school grounds and the upcoming year six camp.

The school will source their sausages, bacon and eggs from the Barbaro Butchers on Preston and Manning Market vendors that Curtin Primary families frequent.

“We really wanted to showcase our local suppliers and our local community and a lot of the local businesses who work in the community but also support our school.”

Rebecca Brockman

Ms Tyler believes the iconic Australian cuisine first became synonymous with election day during the 1980’s when portable barbeques became more accessible.

“The best kind of evidence is that really the rise of the democracy sausage began a bit more when sausage sizzles began to get popular in general,” she says.

The election day sausage sizzle has now become a symbol of national voting, with its appearance reaching as far as Australian embassies in New York City and Berlin.

The “Democracy Sausage” even has its own hashtag with an icon on Twitter, that social media users can share when discussing politics and where to locate sausage sizzles this Saturday.

Ms Tyler says there is an array of food on offer this election, catering to a wide variety of food lovers and dietary needs.  

“I’ve seen Democracy Vegan Dahl, Democracy Souvlaki and one of the polling places will have a petting zoo,” she says.  

Ms Brockman, a self-confessed “political tragic” says it’s fun having the school’s stall on the Democracy Sausage website and its growing popularity is helping spread awareness of their fundraiser.

“I really like their intentions. It’s not about politics. It’s about sausages and getting the word out there, I think it’s a bit of fun and quite useful,” she says.  

Ms Tyler believes the compulsory nature of election day offers great opportunity for fundraising to a vast and captive audience and enjoys seeing the support for local communities.

“I think that it’s always nice on what is a really divisive day to have something that everyone can get behind, which is the democracy sausage,” she says.

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