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West Australians line up at polls around state but about half of voters opt to go early

Democracy sausages were ready at the Victoria Park Primary School as the polling booth opens. (ABC News: Grace Burmas)

West Australians are lining up at polling booths across the state to cast their vote, but about half of all voters made their choice about who should lead the country before today.

The state has about 1.8 million eligible voters and more than half a million have cast their ballot papers at pre-poll voting centres while more than 300,000 valid postal vote applications have been received.

Australia-wide, more than 50 per cent of Australians have already voted at pre-polls or via the post, setting a new record in the country, says the Australian Electoral Commission.

A last-minute change to voting rules, only made yesterday, meant people who have tested positive to COVID-19 will be able to vote over the telephone this election.

Voting booths are open and people arrive at the East Victoria Park Primary school in the West Australian seat of Swan. (ABC News: Robert Koenig-Luck)

That includes people who have tested positive since last Friday night, however, close contacts without symptoms cannot use the telephone service, as they are able to vote in person.

It's unclear how many West Australians will be eligible to vote over the telephone today, but with about 91,000 active COVID-19 cases in the state, it's likely to be around that figure.

WA could be key to election outcome

West Australians are casting their votes at more than 800 polling booths across the state (ABC News)

For some West Australians, today means democracy sausages and a chance to have their say on how the next three years will look for the nation.

However, with the rest of the country up to two hours ahead of the West, voters in this state have the final say, which could be crucial in the outcome of this election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison chose to spend the last day of his political campaign in Western Australia, in a final bid to win over the previously Liberal-leaning state.

But even Labor took the unusual step of holding its campaign launch in WA for the first time since 1940.

McGowan heckled at the poll

Labor has sought to capitalise on the popularity of WA Premier Mark McGowan on the campaign trail, with the state leader appearing side by side with Anthony Albanese during his visit west in the final week of the campaign.

WA Premier Mark McGowan was repeatedly heckled by a United Australia Party volunteer over vaccine mandates. (ABC News: Andrew O'Connor)

But it didn't all go smoothly for Mr McGowan as he attempted to vote in the safe Labor seat of Brand, in Perth's south.

The WA Premier was repeatedly heckled by a United Australia Party volunteer over vaccine mandates, while in line to cast his ballot.

"Why can I go to the football, but I can't work in my job," the heckler said.

Mr McGowan told the man he would not talk to him before the Premier's security intervened.

"The good thing about the mandates is we got to the highest vaccination rates in the world, the best health and economic outcomes in the world and I think sometimes that is not well understood," the Premier said.

"Mr Palmer's team don't like it, but they're really just a bunch of oddballs."

After Mr McGowan had cast his vote with his son Samuel — who had voted for the first time — he told the media he had appreciated the attention Western Australia had received during the election campaign.

Mark McGowan and his son Samuel are casting their vote. Samuel was voting for the first time.  (ABC News: Andrew O'Connor)

"What you don't want to be is forgotten, and one of the good things hopefully that will come out of this is more balance in Western Australia," he said.

He admitted it had been a hard-fought election campaign but said he was confident Labor would be elected.

"I'm very confident about one thing tonight, that Craig Kelly will not be the prime minister of Australia tomorrow."

Candidates of marginal seats join voters

The Coalition currently holds 10 of the state's 15 Parliamentary seats, as Labor sets its sights on claiming the marginal seats of Swan, Pearce and Hasluck.

In the electorate of Swan — where the Liberal party holds the seat by 3.2 pe cent — voters queued at the polls, waiting for the doors to open at 8am.

Labor's Swan candidate, Zaneta Mascarenhas, arrived at the polls this morning on her cargo bike, with her two kids riding in the cart, which she said was her usual school drop-off vehicle.

West Australian Labor candidate for the seat of Swan Zaneta Mascarenhas arrives with her two children on a cargo bike. (ABC News: Robert Koenig-Luck)

Ms Mascarenhas is going up against Liberal candidate Kristy McSweeney.

Perth resident Ella Bracone voted at a primary school and said that coming along on election day made her feel more involved in the community.

She said climate change was a major factor in voting for her Swan candidate.

"Healthcare is a big one for me … I'm a healthcare worker and climate is a huge one as well, which has definitely influenced how I voted in my local election."

Meanwhile, Liberal MP and Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt — who holds the seat of Hasluck — has voted at Ellenbrook Primary School.

Liberal MP and Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt, who holds the seat of Hasluck, voted at Ellenbrook Primary School. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

Remote polls overcome staff shortages

On Wednesday, the AEC revealed some regional polling booths in WA may not be able to open due to staffing shortages.

However, the ABC has been told all polling stations have opened as planned, including across the O'Connor electorate.

Liberal MP Rick Wilson is seeking a fourth term in parliament as the member for O'Connor – an electorate spanning a massive 1.1 million square kilometres — and is campaigning in Albany on the State's south coast today.

Voters line up at O’Connor Primary School in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.  (ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)

Labor candidate Shaneane Weldon began her day campaigning in Kambalda in the WA Goldfields region and is due back in Kalgoorlie-Boulder to vote at O'Connor Primary School around 11am.

There are also dozens of minor party supporters out in force today.

There was a minor hiccup this morning when the Goldfields Arts Centre in Kalgoorlie-Boulder was briefly evacuated due to a fire alarm.

Meanwhile, in the state's north, the ALP's candidate for Durack Jeremiah Riley has just cast his vote at the Broome Civic Centre with Labor Senator Pat Dodson.

Mr Riley is challenging incumbent Liberal Party MP and Morrison Cabinet Minister Melissa Price, who holds the seat by a significant 13.5 per cent margin, making it one of the safest Liberal seats in the country.

Durack is also the biggest in terms of geography at 1.6 million square kilometres, spanning from just north of Perth to the tip of the Kimberley.

Mr Riley is a Yamatji man from the state's Midwest and hopes a predicted swing towards the ALP across the country will see the cards fall in his favour today.

The ALP’s candidate for Durack Jeremiah Riley has just cast his vote at the Broome Civic Centre with Labor Senator Pat Dodson. (ABC Kimberley: Jessica Hayes)

"I feel confident that we're [ALP is] going to win, whether I win that is the question," he said.

"Hopefully I can swing this huge margin to get us over the line.

"I really have given it my best shot."

Mr Riley said he hopes to highlight issues relating to childcare, aged care and securing an Indigenous voice to Parliament if he pulls off a miracle today.

Antony Green says it will be a long night of counting
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