Online option drives record voter enrolment levels
The adoption of online voter enrolment has led to an increase in the number of voters registering ahead of the forthcoming Australian federal election. This is the first election where voters have been able to enrol fully online, without the need to print out or submit a hard copy form. At the 2010 election, people were able to fill out an enrolment application form online but it still had to be printed out, signed and the hardcopy form submitted to the AEC. Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn has announced that 14,712,799 people are enrolled to vote in the 2013 federal election, an increase of over 624,000 since the last election. Failure to vote without a valid reason triggers a $20 fine and the possibility of court proceedings being raised. Defaulters can face prison for contempt of court. Killesteyn said that the increased numbers showed Australians preferred the convenience of using full online enrolment recently provided on the AEC website. “Over 85 per cent of enrolments and updates were completed online over the final week, underlining a strong upward trend in the take-up of our online services,” he said. “In the final 24 hours before the Monday 8pm deadline, the AEC received over 71,000 enrolment applications from people enrolling to vote, and over 118,000 electors updated their residential address or other details.” He said 1.22 million remain unenrolled. “Encouraging all eligible Australians to enrol to vote will continue to be a priority for the AEC at future elections, as will providing voter information and support services to those Australian who are under-represented in our electoral system – such as Indigenous Australians and new citizens from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” he said.