With great and perhaps undue haste the government wants to introduce legislation before the next election that will require you to carry suitable and acceptable personal ID when you next vote.
The need for this legislation we are told is to maintain voter integrity, in particular to avoid voters voting multiple times ; even though, there is no evidence that this has been a problem in the past.
The government have resisted calls for the AEC to actually issue a voter ID to all registered voters before the election in 2022. The reason they will not do this is that it would ideally have to be a photo ID and this goes against the conservative grain as it implies too much government in our lives ; something the coalition are positively against. So, the responsibility falls back on the individual to provide personal ID and for the election booth official to verify this on the day.
In my regional area the process so far has been that you front up, give your name and address and the official manually draws a line through you name on a hard-copy of the electoral roll ; for some reason we haven’t got the roll online but perhaps that will change (anybody know ?). Having a manual system is, of course open to voter fraud as you could easily pop along to an adjoining suburb, enter another booth, have your name and address again pencilled through and vote for a second time and that would only come to light some months later if at all.
Personally, I have retained a post-card sent to me by the AEC some years ago when our electorate boundaries changed. This card tells me my name, address and details of my electoral division and confirms my registration. I normally take this card along when I vote just in case and will continue to do that. Just as an exercise, this morning I thought that I would check my electoral status on the federal electoral roll – guess what, after several attempts it could not find me – check it out for yourself here.
The odd thing is that, if on the day the electoral official cannot find me on the electoral roll and refuses to allow me to vote, I can expect to be fined some time in the future for failing to vote as required by law !
As I mentioned elsewhere the other day, I have written to my local member asking him to insist that, if this legislation goes through as the government insist it must, that the AEC be required to send a personal ID postcard to every registered voter prior to next election (inevitably for a number of reasons it would not be a photo ID but it would be something). I suggest you could do likewise but you will have to be quick as they want this legislation through the House next week.
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