May 22nd, 2013 at 06:33pm
When I heard about this story yesterday it was as a one-line brief mention at the end of a radio news bulletin. My mind jumped to a different conclusion, and that conclusion still isn’t answered.
Almost 1.4 million voters are missing from Australia’s electoral roll, new figures show.
Since laws recently passed allowing the AEC to directly enrol voters through cross-checking other government data, 80,000 people have been added to the roll and 310,000 addresses updated.
The AEC expects to add about 150,000 names to the roll by this process before the election.
(h/t Yahoo News)
That leaves a lot of people missing from the rolls and I have to assume that it’s based on an estimate of the number of people who should be eligible based on population estimates from the Australian Bureau Of Statistics, as if they knew the exact number of people who should be on the roll based on actual personal information stored by other parts of the government, then the Electoral Commission would enrol them.
Still, there is a question which hasn’t been answered. The story which I heard yesterday simply noted that:
Almost 1.4 million voters are missing from Australia’s electoral roll
Which brought my mind back to an interview which 2UE’s Jason Morrison conducted with someone from the Electoral Commission a few months ago after he received calls from people who had checked their enrolment on the electoral roll and found that they had gone missing from the electoral roll. The person from the Electoral Commission denied that they had adjusted any details on the roll and blamed the voters for forgetting the details they had enrolled with. For some, he may have had a point, but not for most of the many many people who rang in.
At least now we know that the electoral roll data is being changed by the Australian Electoral Commission, althoughwe still do not have an answer as to why perfectly valid entries have been altered…I suspect an error in the process at the AEC whereby they have trusted data entered by other government departments even when the only difference between that data and what was on the electoral roll was a full middle name instead of an initial or vice-versa.
The good news I suppose is that you can check your enrolment on the AEC website at https://oevf.aec.gov.au/. It should be noted though that the form is very picky about what details you must enter correctly, so you might want to try a few variations of your name and address if you don’t find yourself immediately. Alternatively you can visit an AEC office and check the electoral roll there. You don’t need to know any details to see the list of voters on the electoral roll at an AEC office. Or you could just ring the AEC to correct your entry…but they’ll probably want you to fill out paperwork for that.
Going back to the job being undertaken by the AEC of adding people to the electoral roll based on data held by other government departments, I wonder two things:
1. How many incorrect entries will be added based on out-of-date data?
2. How many people who have avoided registering to vote will find themselves on the electoral roll? I know of some people who have never registered and would be very interested if they are caught in the net, so to speak.