Existing laws enable counterfeit votes in four ways:
- Enrolling to vote without proper identification
- Voting without proper identification
- Voting more than once in an election – ‘Multiple voting’
- Boomerang voting / relocation voting / electorate shopping
1. Enrolling to vote without proper identification
Enrolment forms make enrolling too easy for fraudsters.
The AEC enrolment form invites – but does not demand – proper verifiable printable identification for enrolment. It’s far too easy for imposters to enrol to vote as anyone they like as often as they wish. Against this, any AEC language such as ‘voters are required…’ has no legal effect.
2. Voting without proper identification
No official identification is required of voters at a polling location to prove their right to receive voting papers at that polling location. The three verbal questions required by law about name, address and having voting in the election are not an adequate test of a person's actual identity.
3. Voting more than once in an election - 'Multiple voting'
Every Australian of voting age deserves their vote at the ballot box. Some Australians seem to think they deserve two or more votes… even 15 votes. But multiple-voting is too easy to get away with - there is little protection in place to prevent the same person from voting again at another polling place for the same election. The 2010 Federal election was won by less than the number of people who admitted voting more than once.
4. Boomerang voting / relocation voting / electorate shopping
People can temporarily enrol too easily in other electorates when elections are called.
Picture this scenario:
- ‘Sally’ lives in South Australia where she is enrolled.
- Her friend is a candidate in a marginal seat in Queensland.
- A federal election is about to be called and Sally wants to support her friend.
- She goes to the AEC website and changes her address to her friend’s Queensland electorate just before the election.
- Sally lodges an absentee vote as a voter living in Queensland.
- After the election, she goes back to the AEC website and changes her enrolment back to the South Australian electorate where she lives.
- Her friend wins the seat by less than 12 votes.
What can we do to fix this?
- Electoral commissions must demand a higher standard of proof from people who claim to have moved to another electorate after an election has been called.
- Enrolment forms must provide proof of habitation when identifying an address on voter enrolment forms (The AEC forms requires no such proof. A signed ‘Declaration’ statement is too easy to fabricate and is virtually meaningless unless details are checked.
- Electoral commissions must tighten enrolment guidelines to prevent people from electorate-squatting.
- If Australians want fair elections, then elections need better rules to stop people from voting more than once, voting as other electors and voting in multiple electorates during an election.