MAYBE it was a turn in the weather or maybe it was enthusiasm, but voters in Ballarat started earlier than usual this federal election.
A rise in pre-poll votes was matched by a strong turnout early this morning.
"There were definitely a lot of people early from 8am," said AEC officer Dan Doherty.
"Pre-poll and postal vote were right up in Ballarat, in Victoria and across the country.
"In Victoria, one in four has voted before election day."
At Pleasant Street Primary School today, Mark Hartnell said he was always excited to vote.
"I believe compared to other countries, we have a comparatively great system," Mr Hartnell said.
"In Ballarat Catherine King will get up but (over all) Tony Abbott will win."
Phillip and Jennifer Bottomley also predicted Tony Abbott would be Australia's next prime minister but were generally unenthused about the campaign.
"We don't care one jot about the election," Mr Bottomley said.
"We are not really interested in (any of the) politicians."
Mr Bottomley said the only reason they voted was to avoid the fine. Mrs Bottomley said she didn't take much notice of the election campaign because it was all "rubbish".
The couple may have typified this year's general feeling of apathy, but there were still those who were prompted by the current political mood to enrol for the first time.
At Ballarat and Queens Grammar School, Ballarat resident Peter Clarke was excited to cast his first vote.
"I'm in my forties but I've never been on the electoral roll before"
"I'm in my forties but I've never been on the electoral roll before," he said
"I am Aboriginal but every Minister for Indigenous Affairs has been a white man.
"I want indigenous Australians to have a voice."
Mr Clarke said he was scared an Abbott government would weaken unions.
"I work in commercial construction and I am concerned that if the Liberals get in, our rights will be gone," he said.
Greta Delaland, another first time voter, accompanied her mother Carol Grinstead to St Andrew's Hall at Dawson Street.
Ms Delaland said she had made up her mind long time ago.
"One (political) party gave my school funding, the other said it was horribly spent and could have been put to better use," Ms Delaland said.
"So it was easy for me to choose (who to vote for)."