Identifying voters

Existing laws enable counterfeit votes in four ways:

  1. Enrolling to vote without proper identification
  2. Voting without proper identification
  3. Voting more than once in an election – ‘Multiple voting’
  4. 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:

  1. ‘Sally’ lives in South Australia where she is enrolled.
  2. Her friend is a candidate in a marginal seat in Queensland.
  3. A federal election is about to be called and Sally wants to support her friend.
  4. She goes to the AEC website and changes her address to her friend’s Queensland electorate just before the election.
  5. Sally lodges an absentee vote as a voter living in Queensland.
  6. After the election, she goes back to the AEC website and changes her enrolment back to the South Australian electorate where she lives.
  7. 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.

COMMENTS

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  • Peter Newland
    commented 2022-04-18 17:35:36 +1000
    Thanks John, you may be able to convince me that a single electorate is good for Australia, but I’d say you have zero hope of changing the constitution to that extent. And despite what you say, the population density differences are so extreme in Australia, and so different from Holland/The Netherlands that I can’t see the population of the low density States or electorates agreeing to change to what they fear will make them even more isolated.

    But without proportional representation, the system can still be improved by at least making vote-counting fair. You lament that:

    “if someone gets more that 50% of the votes in my ‘geographic seat’ – my vote is discarded if my first preference vote is not for the party that wins. I wasted my time voting. And to add insult to injury – voting is compulsory "

    and that is a problem because someone can get 51% of 1st preferences and claim an “absolute majority” which may be a complete farce because it is possible, due to ‘counting’ votes the wrong way, that the ‘winner’ is hated by 49% of the voters while the system rejected a candidate who was 1st or 2nd preference to 100% of voters and hence hated by no one. So the ‘system’ rejects the clearly-best candidate and elects a usurper. We can fix that by fair counting of preference votes, using either the The Borda count or my DCAP vote-counting system.

    So I agree that it is an insult to sometimes ignore second preferences and to ALWAYS ignore last preferences. But if you refuse to vote, how do we tell the difference between you being content ‘the system’ and being upset with it?
  • John de Wit
    commented 2022-04-18 15:30:28 +1000
    Peter Newland. You misunderstand how proportional representation works. There is only one electorate. The Representatives represent the whole of the country (or state) as well as the parts. An issue in Woop Woop does not need a representative from Woop Woop to plead the Woop Woop case – any representative will do. And anyone living outside of Woop Woop with any feeling of solidarity with the people of Woop Woop, can also plead their issue to any chosen Member of Parliament. These things are always resolved with a vote in parliament. It makes no difference if this is a local issue or not. All representatives represent everyone and should be trusted to not have bias for their own locality. Representatives stand for all the people – not just the people of their region.
    The main purpose of proportional representation is to ensure that everybody’s vote is equal to everyone else’s. Sadly, the Australian Constitution, rules this out. Inequality is part of our electoral system.
    I recommend reading:
    http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/FedLawRw/2004/18.html
    I have voted in a proportional representation system. It is so easy to do as a voter. You just choose one candidate. There is no multiple numbered votes and a puzzle about who has preference. It is a quick job. Nobody needs to be standing outside the polling station giving you handouts on how to vote. (I think this would be illegal in most countries that have proportional representation.)
    What I really dislike about the current system is the inherent inequality. In our current system, if someone gets more that 50% of the votes in my ‘geographic seat’ – my vote is discarded if my first preference vote is not for the party that wins. I wasted my time voting. And to add insult to injury – voting is compulsory.
    Our system allows for a government that did not win the popular vote – they just won enough seats. Compulsory voting obfuscates the matter further. How do we know we have a government that has the mandate of the people?
    Australia started off with a lot of experimentation in voting systems, but this hasn’t been done for many decades now. Somehow equality in our voting system has been forgotten in favour of perceived efficiency and manageability – and the tendency to stick with ‘what we are used to’.
    I say bring back equality in voting – and there is only one way to do that: proportional representation.
    Our current system is divisive. Proportional representation breeds solidarity.
  • Peter Newland
    commented 2022-04-18 10:49:55 +1000
    Re VOTER ID not remoter ID!
  • Peter Newland
    commented 2022-04-18 10:36:50 +1000
    John de Wit, spot on remoter ID. Hey myGovID looks dangerously like myCovidID.

    But I disagree re proportional representation for the House of Representatives. Either the electorates would have many more voters in much larger electorates (which makes it extremely difficult for the “Representatives” to actually represent individuals in their electorate), or there would need to be many more HoR politicians which would make parliament massive and unwieldy. There’s no perfect solution, single-member electorates have their downsides, but so do proportional representation systems.

    I think it’s more important to have electoral reform to fix the flaws in our preferential voting system where voters preferences can now actually be over-ridden by so-called “counting” methods where a candidate can win on preferences despite those preferences proving that the alleged ‘winner’ also won the wooden-spoon as the most unpopular candidate on preferences. The problem there is because the counting system is obsessed with 1st preferences giving all weight to 1st preferences and zero weight to last preferences. AS I’ve argued elsewhere, the only vote-counting that guarantees fair vote counting is The Borda count, which is unwieldy, or my DCAP system which has all the benefits and accuracy of Borda without it’s limitations.
  • John de Wit
    commented 2022-03-08 09:30:25 +1100
    To avoid multiple voting:
    You need proper identification. passport or driving license to vote. At the polling booth your myGovID will be checked to see if you have already voted. If you have not voted, you may proceed to vote, and your myGovId will be registered as having voted. This registration can be achieved with a single countrywide database – accessible via internet by authorised electoral officials.

    To avoid boomerang voting / relocation voting / electorate shopping:
    Switch to proportional representation for the House of Representatives, with just one electorate: the whole of Australia. This is by far a better and fairer system anyway.
  • Andrew Pearce
    commented 2022-01-18 19:36:39 +1100
    This requires a digital identity such as https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.globalid&hl=en_AU&gl=US This is a fantastic service that will make it almost impossible for people to falsly vote

JOIN THE FIGHT

Add your name and let’s keep Australian elections free and fair.

  • commented on A fair voting system 2022-06-23 20:29:52 +1000
    John thanks for taking the time to read PLERS.

    With regards to computer entry, AEC always enters every vote on their computer system and that is what determines the result. Doing an election night manual count would give enough information from 1st and 2nd preferences to predict a PLERS result.

    The chapter I am currently writing uses PLERS Simplified for political elections, which simplifies the count process. For Reps elections 1st pref gets a 1.0, 2nd 0.9, 3rd 0.8, etc till the 11th and all subsequent getting zero (0.0). It’s a simple process, you just add up the vote value and rank the candidates.

    Senate is a little more complex but follows similar lines.

    Regards Erik

  • commented on A fair voting system 2022-06-23 15:53:21 +1000
    John, I have clearly documented how Preferential Voting (PV) can overcome the shortcomings of First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) voting – in BOTH single member electorates and in Proportional Representation systems such as you advocate. You correctly say that PR would make life easier for the voters, the AEC, and government, but then you say “as far as fairness is concerned – [PR] is unbeatable”. The fact is PR does not guarantee a fair count and I have proved this with examples, and proved that Preferential Voting beats PR in fairness.

    I have clearly demonstrated clear numerical examples how the PR system you advocate can get it WRONG, but that those problems can be reduced by adding Preferential Voting and, better still, even totally eliminated by counting the votes via DPAP. DCAP/DPAP totally eliminates the problems of electing Parties or Candidates contrary to voters’ collective preferences. Without PV PR totally ignore everything except first preferences and that risks unfair results.

    DPAP is the ONLY guaranteed fair vote counting method that allow you, John, to vote only for the party you want, while allowing others to use full or partial or split preferential voting as they see fit, and yet every vote still carries exactly the same value. The Borda Count comes close, but can’t handle partial preferential voting. PLERS comes closer, but it does NOT handle partial preferential voting fairly because it does not count partial preferential votes linearly – unless Erik has changed his system to overcome that fault since I pointed it out some months ago in this forum.

    DCAP facilitates high security against electoral fraud. It suits transparent block-chain security with a complete audit trail from paper ballot paper and/or electronic screen voting all the way from polling booth to final declaration. Being totally linear, the results from different polling places, as extremely small digital files, are easily and instantly aggregated as highly secure digital files that are very difficult to alter because they can be checked against the individual votes retained in the polling place machines. The fact that voting machine fraud is widespread in some countries simply highlights the need for legislation for machines and procedures to be rigidly controlled. As outlined in links given previously, individual voters can choose to receive anonymous receipts showing their actual vote as scanned and/or as approved on screen, that they can the check that their vote was actually correctly recorded and counted. Further, the online semi-real-time output summaries from individual polling stations can be made transparent to the media, public, candidates and parties. All this make voting fraud difficult and auditing easy.

    The fact is DCAP/DPAP can fix PR’s serious fault that it can give parties more seats than they deserve – as I have documented. So, your claim that: “(The Israeli system) is a fair system” is clearly not necessarily true. Also, while “Voters would be very reluctant to vote for a party that could form a coalition with a party they despise. (and) Pre-election promises about forming coalitions are usually widely known and adhered to,” there are plenty of Israeli and Kiwi voters, who despair over parties and candidates betraying their trust – plus Aussie voters betrayed where promised policies are ignored etc.
    While traditional Preferential Vote counting is a slow error-prone process because candidates are eliminated and preferences distributed (often more than 100 times in a mathematically chaotic process with numerous unpredictable tipping points) DPAP requires no time-wasting sifting through preferences. DPAP never distributes preferences – but all preferences are taken into account fairly. DPAP never “eliminates” any Candidate or Party in the count, all are accurately rated into a hierarchy. Everything is decided in a quick efficient linear manner.

    In summary, if you want to guarantee a fair and just level playing field, then Preferential Voting using DPAP’s fair counting system is required in a Proportional Representation system, even when voting for a large number of representatives. While voters wanting to ensure a fair and just result need to fill in more preferences, voters have the option to vote as little or much as they choose and all votes are counted equally.

  • commented on A fair voting system 2022-06-23 12:24:58 +1000
    Erik,
    Preferential voting for multiple seats in a single electorate using proportional representation (PR), would not achieve much at all. There would hardly be any difference in outcome compared to voting for a single candidate.
    I agree that PR is difficult to achieve. It would require a constitutional change in Australia. I do not agree that it is difficult to implement. It would make life easier for the voters, the AEC, and government. And as far as fairness is concerned – it is unbeatable.

    I do think your PLERS is a fairer system, compared to existing preferential voting and other alternatives. However, it requires a spreadsheet to process results. The existing system has a method that can be counted manually by stacking and eliminating votes in a process that is easily checked and monitored – by people. It is slow, but traceable.
    Your method (PLERS) requires data-entry into a spreadsheet – which I guarantee you is a much slower and error-prone process. Preferably this would be done on 3 spreadsheets simultaneously, so that the results can be compared. If they don’t match – start again. If you were to combine PLERS with voting for multiple seats in a single electorate using proportional representation, i.e. all of Australia in a federal election, you would also have to combine spreadsheets from regional counting centres in a country-wide spreadsheet. Another error-prone level of complexity. Mistakes are inevitable and voters would lose confidence. I foresee very long wait times before election results are confirmed.
    PLERS would be OK if we got the input for the spreadsheets directly from a voting machine. However voting machines are not allowed in Australia – and I agree with that. It is too easy to manipulate – as is the merging of spreadsheets.

    Forgive me for my opinion, but I still dislike any form of preferential voting – even PLERS, because it is simply too complex and achieves nothing in a PR system.

  • commented on A fair voting system 2022-06-23 12:22:42 +1000
    Peter,
    1. This is not my system. This is a system used in many countries, Israel among others, as you have stated. The Israeli system does create a complex of parties with – in our eyes – ‘unstable’ governments. The parties and their policies are a direct reflection of the diverse opinions of the citizens of Israel. It is a fair system. Sometimes this means failures to govern, and a re-election is required. But when it works – it works very well.

    2. I retract my ‘THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE’. It is possible, though extremely unlikely. Your example states a party with 30% of the vote may be considered by 51 to 70% of the voters to be the worst possible choice. Well then, the parties these ‘51 to 70%’ voted for can form a coalition. But realistically, the opinions of voters are reflected in the parties they vote for – otherwise why vote for them. No party would form a coalition with a party that has alienated itself from more than 50% of the voters. Voters would be very reluctant to vote for a party that could form a coalition with a party they despise. Pre-election promises about forming coalitions are usually widely known and adhered to. Theoretically it can happen – but in practice it hardly ever does, and when it happens the government does not last long – and a re-election is required – like in Israel.

    Preferential voting is simply not required in a proportional representation system when voting for a large group of representatives. We do not have to sift through preferences per regional seat to determine a winner per seat. We just vote for one candidate by ticking his name on a list. If party X has 30% of the vote – they get 30% of the seats – fair and transparent. And simple to count.