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 Compulsory voting 2022-05-23 08:55:45 +1000
    Australia is meant to be a country of Rights & Freedoms, not Complusion or Mandates.

    The only things you can’t do is harm, injury or cause the death of others, as these are crimes.

    To a lessor extent, maintain the peace, do not cause loss, damage, theft or fraud.

    I ultimately have the right to decide for myself. To choose to do or not do a thing. Forcing people is beyond the spirit of the country.

    Just as our rights are not expressed in the constitutions of Federal & State, not are mandatory or compulsory powers.

    If you are in protest of the whole system that exists, the most peaceful protest is to not vote.

  • commented on A fair voting system 2022-05-22 16:44:42 +1000
    Grant, Preferential Voting is arguably far better than choosing the candidate with the most votes – otherwise known as First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) voting.

    The problem is that FPTP elections can elect the most popular candidate with less than 50% of the vote, even if that candidate is unpopular with more than 50% of voters. That’s a dangerous risk. Preferential voting avoids those risks.

    That’s not just opinion: lets put some numbers on it.
    Consider an election where 100 voters choose one of Candidates A, B and C. If Candidate A gets 40 votes, B 35 and C 25, then A is clearly the ‘front-runner’. However, we simply don’t know whether A is really the voters’ choice unless we consider second preferences.

    So let’s eliminate C with only 25 votes and have a run-off between A and B just to make sure. Now it’s possible that all C voters choose B as their second choice. So, Candidate B wins with 60 votes which is a clear majority and, is apparently the rightful winner.

    Now Preferential Voting effectively does ‘instant run-offs’ in one single election without wasting time and money doing two or more FPTP elections. So while FPTP elections sometimes give fair results, fairness is not guaranteed. Preferential voting is more likely to give a fair result, But sadly, not even that can be guaranteed.
    Why not? How so?

    While Preferential Voting is the best VOTING system, it is not COUNTED in a way that guarantees fairness. The ‘counting’ system can get it badly wrong. In the example above B is NOT necessarily the rightful winner. Why not? How so?

    In the example above, all C voters gave their second preferences to B, and so B apparently won ‘after preferences’ with 60 votes. But suppose, all A and all B voters gave their second preferences to C. That can be summarised as:
    A; 40 Likes, 00 neutrals, 60 dislikes; of 100 votes cast, 60 unhappy with A
    B; 35 Likes, 25 neutrals, 40 dislikes; of 100 votes cast, 40 unhappy with B
    C: 25 Likes, 75 neutrals, 00 dislikes; of 100 votes cast, 00 unhappy with C
    100 1sts; 100 neutrals, 100 dislikes totals
    So if C is declared the winner, no voters are unhappy with the result compared with 60% unhappy if A was elected and 40% unhappy if B was elected.

    Why are the results different? Because FPTP and the counting method used for Preferential voting with totally ignore last preferences and are effectively obsesses with 1st preferences. Yet first and last preferences should be given equal rating to get a better result. Now there are counting methods that are totally fair, but sadly they are not being used and we need Voting Reform to get fair voting results.

    So, in the example above the way Preferential Voting votes were ‘counted’ got it wrong and elected B instead of C, while FPTP gave even worse results. The Borda count, invented in the 1700s, always gives a fair count. How? It never eliminates candidates and it always takes into account every preference for every candidate. My DCAP counting method, a variant of Borda, also guarantees a fair counting method that always gets it right. DCAP and DPAP are more flexible than Borda (used mostly in sporting codes) and can easily fairly handle Optional preferential and Split optional preferential voting – see https://tinyurl.com/ElectoralReformOz for more detail.

  • commented on A fair voting system 2022-05-21 22:07:29 +1000
    Preferential voting. I don’t agree it’s fair. The candidate with the most votes should win. I don’t know of any other decision making process where preferences determine the outcome.

  • signed Enquiry into Preferential Voting 2022-05-21 18:24:55 +1000
    Preferential voting was brought in when the population was very low, time to abolish it. First past the post.