FAQ - Voter Fraud

FAQ - VOTER FRAUD

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of common questions regarding voting and voter fraud in Australia. If you have any other questions that are not answered here, feel free to contact us.

1. Is voting compulsory in Australia?

Yes. Any citizen of Australia over the age of 18 must enrol and vote in federal elections, by-elections and referendums.

2. What is ‘vote fraud’?

‘Vote fraud’ means any illegal activity committed by any person who intends to cause an electoral result that may or may not be consistent with the will of the majority of electors.

3. Do we really have vote fraud in Australia?

Yes. It has been well reported over the years. The more sensational cases include, The Shepherdson Inquiry and the more recent Auburn Council elections.

4. What kind of fraud happens?

Enrolling at addresses that do not exist or do not have homes to live in. Enrolling more people at addresses than actually live there. Voting as someone else or as other people. Voting many times in an election instead of just one time as allowed by law.

5. Don’t we have the best election system in the world?

Some people say that we do, but recent cases of irregularities show that Australia’s electoral system has problems that other countries would not accept. 

6. Why should I care about vote fraud?

When people cheat to help candidates win elections, those people are violating your right as a citizen to have electors enrolled correctly and votes counted properly. A person who defrauds honest voters by deliberately breaking electoral laws and exploiting loopholes in electoral procedures has decided that his or her will to see a preferred candidate win dishonestly is more important than the will of the majority of voters to see a candidate win honestly. Illegal behaviour when known to the public impacts the public's faith in the trustworthiness of Australian elections.  Democracy depends on public faith and trust in the integrity of elections.

7. Can a person vote more than one time in an election?

Yes. Unfortunately, election procedures enable voters to cast ballots in every polling place in their home electorate on election day – but those who do this must know that they are committing a crime. Unless the ballot paper is ruled as informal (i.e. improperly completed by the elector), it will be counted and included in the election result.  

8. What happens if I vote more than one time in an election?

You may get an official letter from the federal or state electoral commission. The letter may demand an explanation. You may get a fine but the electoral commissions have to prove that it was you who voted twice. Ballot papers are not traceable and so the evidence is virtually impossible to obtain and so few people are ever charged and almost none are convicted.

9. Are there laws against multiple voting?

Yes – but they are not being enforced effectively. A family in South Australia famously claimed to have voted 159 times in the 2010 SA state election.

10. What is ‘multiple voting’?

‘Multiple voting’ means that a person is illegally voting more than one time in a particular election to influence the election outcome. Multiple-voting is a criminal offence in Australia but election processes allow it to happen too easily.

11. Why doesn’t someone do something about the fraud?

Many people, including Vote Australia, have been trying to persuade successive federal governments to update our elections laws and demand better process from the Australian Electoral Commission.

12. Are there penalties for illegal voting?

Yes – up to $6600 fine and/or two years imprisonment.

13. Who is doing the fraud and why?

Supporters of political candidates, political party activists, and pranksters such as the family that voted 159 times.  Honest mistakes by electors happen but fraud is deliberate.  

14. Do I have to prove who I am when I go to vote?

No. Voters are only asked to verbally confirm identity. No proof of identity is expected. There is no effective procedural barrier to you voting in whosever name happens to be on the electoral roll at a polling place.  Voting in someone else's name is a criminal offence.

15. What difference can a few illegal votes make?

A lot! The average electorate has 100,000 enrolled voters but any election can see the slimmest margins deciding winners. Here are a few examples (Vote Australia does not imply that fraud occurred).

2016 - Herbert Qld - 37 votes -- http://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-165.htm

2007 - Robertson, NSW - 184 votes -- http://results.aec.gov.au/13745/Website/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-13745-146.htm

2007 - Flynn, Qld - 253 votes  -- http://results.aec.gov.au/13745/Website/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-13745-311.htm

2007 - Solomon, NT - 196 votes -- http://results.aec.gov.au/13745/Website/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-13745-307.htm

2013 - McEwen, Vic - 313 votes -- http://results.aec.gov.au/17496/Website/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-17496-226.htm

2013 - Fairfax, Qld - 53 votes -- http://results.aec.gov.au/17496/Website/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-17496-160.htm

16. What are some examples of problems with our electoral rolls and what impact did they have?

Here are just two examples where the rolls are letting down candidates and voters

In 1988, Joan Chambers lost her seat of Ballarat-South by 104 votes. From 1979 to 1982 the number of people on the electoral roll matched the numbers in the population census. In 1985 a discrepancy of 2000 people occurred. By the 1988 election there were around 5000 more names on the roll than in the census.  After the election the investigation of  one third of  the roll found 1506 suspicious names and addresses, of  which the Electoral Commissioner confirmed 1081 did not exist as eligible voters. They also found 106 people voted twice, 367 people voted who did not live in the electorate.

In the 1995, Queensland state election, the ALP's Ken Davies initially won the state seat of Mundingburra by just 16 votes. Later the Liberal Party candidate  Frank Tanti uncovered some extensive cases of fraudulent alteration of the electoral roll.

Following a hearing by Judge Ambrose in the Court of  Disputed Returns, November 1995, it was found that there had been significant faults made by the Electoral Commission officials, namely, people who were not residents and, therefore, ineligible to vote in that electorate had done so. It was also found that the votes of 22 soldiers serving in Rwanda had not been received before voting day. In light of this evidence the July 1995 result was overturned.

When most of the anomalies had been corrected, the By-election, in February 1996, was held and won by Tanti by 1084 votes, 1100 more than received in July ‘95. The loss of the one seat majority meant that the Goss government was replaced by a Liberal National Coalition government, led by Robert Borbidge.


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  • commented on A fair voting system 2021-08-23 20:54:27 +1000
    Troy Arnould: In answer to your question: it is secret voting. However, one of the safeguards against electoral fraud protocols I proposed could allow a person to choose to reveal their vote but only by choosing to have a receipt printed and then admitting that the receipt in their possession was their own vote receipt. But nothing on the receipt identifies the voter: it only identifies the place of voting and a unique random number that does not even identify the time of voting. That’s all now detailed in the url link spelled out in words in my previous comment, but I updated security recommendations some weeks ago.

    Also, since my original comment, I have better understood and explored the theory behind what began as an empirical approach that worked – but I wasn’t sure why. All I knew was that it was wrong to be obsessed with 1st preferences when sometimes last preferences were more important. Now I have changed the name from APR to DCAP. Candidate Acceptance Percentage is, in FACT, the exact Percentage of voters who Accepted the Candidate as being in the top 50% of Acceptable Candidates.

    Further, I was surprised to prove that Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem is wrong, and that my DCAP counting method guarantees to give a fair result in all cases. DCAP gives the same results as the Borda count of a FULL preferential voting election, but DCAP expresses the result in a consistent user-friendly way.

    In addition, DCAP easily and fairly handles PARTIAL Preferential Voting as well as SPLIT-Partial preferential voting. SPLIT Partial preferential voting makes it far easier for voters faced with, e.g., 123 candidates from 31 Parties to choose from to elect 6 Federal Senators for NSW. Currently, voting 1-6 for your top 6 Parties risks having zero say over who wins Senator 5 or 6 and hence who may hold the balance of power. But voting 1 to 31 Parties in order of preference is very difficult, let alone preferencing 123 Candidates. in order of preference. To overcome this, a SPLIT vote allows voters to vote (e.g.) 1-7 for their favourite Parties and 25 to 31 for their least favourite parties without having to preference the many micro parties they know nothing about. DCAP allows split votes to be counted fairly, and even to automatically correct voting errors where a voter’s intention is clear.

    DCAP is totally immune to strategic voting: even if a voter voted 1-7 and 93 to 99 for 31 parties, DCAP algorithms automatically translate 93 to 99, to 25 to 31. So, voters collectively get what they voted for, with no strategies available to distort a vote. However, no vote is ever immune from Party, Media or Government misinformation and propaganda.

    Borda is often criticised (by Arrow theory, and by numerical example) as being capable of ignoring an absolute majority. The same applies to DCAP and to its previous guises as: APR (Average Preference Rating); WPC (Weighted Preference Counting); or, CPV (Consensus Preference Voting). Until recently, I conceded that an absolute majority should override WPC/APR/Etc.
    I was wrong.
    Borda/WPC/APR/DCAP override very narrow absolute majorities ONLY, repeat O N L Y when that is in fact the BEST result. This can only happen when the ‘winner’ has a minuscule absolute majority margin compared while that ‘winner’ more strongly deserving the ‘wooden spoon’ as the MOST DISLIKED candidate on preferences.

    Other ‘counting’ methods suffer from erratic tipping points and that’s why they can and do get it wrong – often when it matters most in determining the last one or two candidates elected in multiple representative electorates where such winners often hold the balance of power. In contrast, Borda and DCAP are totally ‘linear’: i.e., they have no sudden tipping points, where changing one vote can tip preferences towards a totally different candidate. This is because Borda and DCAP never eliminate candidates, never distribute preferences, they fairly take into account all preferences for all candidates, in filling all vacancies and every vote has the same say over every vacancy.

    Current eliminate & distribute ‘counting’ methods are inherently flawed: they can not guarantee fair results; plus they facilitate strategic voting trying to game the system.
    Further, some claim that partial preferential voting (but not SPLIT partial preferential voting) skews the system in favour of larger parties. In contrast, DCAP actually guarantees a “fair voting system”.

    Why the D in DCAP?
    DCAP results can seem extremely counter-intuitive. E.g.: With 4 candidates, DCAP will correctly declare candidate D, with ZERO first preferences but 100% 2nd preferences, as the CLEAR STRONG DCAP winner with a DCAP score of 66.67% despite: Candidate A getting an ‘absolute majority’ with 51% of first preferences, but with a DCAP of only 51% due to A’s getting the largest share, 49%, of 4th-or-last preferences; and Candidate B getting 25% of both 1st and last preferences; and, C receiving 24% of first preferences.

    Although absolutely correct, this DCAP result is counter-intuitive and contrary to Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem. Hence the ‘D’ in DCAP to acknowledge that my D’Nalwen Certainty Theorem and DCAP guarantees a fair election counting method, and disproves Arrow’s so-called “Impossibility Theorem”, D’Nalwen being my surname in reverse. Full details are in the url link in my previous comment.

  • commented on A fair voting system 2021-08-23 09:50:39 +1000
    Does it allow for secret voting or are all votes associated to a user and searchable/traceable?

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  • followed A fair voting system 2021-06-15 10:17:44 +1000