We have identified 9 recommendations for improving the transparency of the Australian electoral process:
Require valid identification before admitting a person onto the Electoral Roll
This means amending section 98AA (2)(c) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 ('CEAct') and its associated Regulation which, in their current forms, enable false enrolments.
Restore door-to-door habitation reviews
This will help to detect and remove false and/or incorrect enrolments from the Electoral Roll. Habitations reviews were conducted for many years as proscribed in subsections 92 (4) and (5) of the CEAct but were curiously stopped in 1995. If the next election could be held as late as possible (December 2016) then the results of the next Census, 9 August 2016, could be used to correct the Electoral Rolls.
Require voters to present identification before being allowed to vote
The 2014 amendments to sections 3, 107 and 112 of the Queensland Electoral Act are proven effective at requiring proof of identity for ordinary and pre-poll voting. These identity provisions must include postal voting, which has facilitated extensive fraud.
Introduce “Electronic Certified Lists” and link polling places electronically to a central master Electoral Roll
The AEC admitted that 18,770 electors has been marked on the Roll as having received ballot papers two or more times during the Australian Federal election of 7 September 2013. No one has been prosecuted. “Electronic Certified Lists” in combination with polling places linked electronically to a central Master Electoral Roll would result in each elector’s name being marked off the relevant electoral roll at all polling places where voting papers can be issued to that elector so preventing ballot papers being issued more than once in the name of that elector. This is official Liberal Party policy, a motion to this effect having been passed at their National Council about four years ago.
Enforce electoral laws to limit voting to polling day and constrain pre-poll and postal voting
Voting over a two-week period prior to election day makes vote fraud too easy to commit. Current law contains legal criteria for eligibility for pre-poll and postal voting but the law has not been enforced effectively by the AEC, resulting in huge increases in recent years of numbers of pre-poll and postal votes. These criteria should be tightened with the objective of requiring as much voting on the actual election day as is possible.
Install security cameras at polling places
Such a simple measure does not require legislation. Cameras have proven themselves indispensable in thwarting and solving crime. They can discourage multiple-voting by aiding the identification of electors re-entering polling places during elections. Cameras would provide valuable evidence for subsequent investigations into multiple-voting and voter impersonation.
Restore Sub-divisional voting
The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 was designed and based on ‘SubDivision Voting’ which applied until 1984. Abolition of sub-divisional voting contributed to the defeat of Alasdair Webster by 164 votes in 1993 in Macquarie. In that election, numerous individuals impersonated Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of other religious groups at polling places. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not vote. They are legally exempted from voting due to conscientious objection. In previous elections, Jehovah's Witnesses received customary letters from the Electoral Commission after an election alleging that the person named in each letter had failed to vote. Tellingly, Jehovah’s Witnesses did not receive such letters following the 1993 election. As far as the electoral authorities were concerned, someone had voted in the names of those Jehovah's Witnesses. In geographically broad electorates, individuals who impersonate those exempted from voting on religious grounds can vote by stealth at the other end of an electorate with little risk of being recognised as imposters. Sub-divisional voting would force imposters to vote close to where the person lives, thus greatly increasing the risk of being noticed.
Pens to replace pencils
Issue ink pens in place of pencils at polling booths to make altering of ballot papers harder.
Reinstate the AEC as public service department
Abolish the AEC as an independent statutory authority and bring it under Ministerial control as a public service department, as it used to be from 1901 until 1984.