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.
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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?
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:
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.
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.
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.