The Australian Electoral Commission has identified an issue with enrolling young voters. There’s a readymade, simple solution to enrolling virtually all young people the moment they turn 18, says Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) Director Lance Williamson. Preregister them for the electoral roll when they sign up for their driver’s licence.
Roll up, roll up to learn how to drive democracy
There’s a ready-made, simple solution to enrolling virtually all young people the moment they turn 18, says Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) Director Lance Williamson.
Pre-register them for the electoral roll when they sign up for their driver’s licence.
Mr Williamson proposed his solution after the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) told a parliamentary inquiry that online enrolling of young people was not possible, because they must physically sign the enrolment form.
The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters heard that young Australian’s wanted to enrol online, but it wasn’t possible, even though online sign-up might arrest the decline in 18-25 age group enrolments.
“Most teenagers get their driver’s licence as soon as they’re old enough,” Mr Williamson said. “When they apply for their learner’s permit, they have to be present and meet the required 100 points identity check (proof of identity and residency). Coincidentally, under current electoral laws possession of a driving licence satisfies proof of identity and the AEC already has right of access to transport authorities records to confirm identity.
“Why not include an automatic enrolment as part of that process?”
He said you only had to change the licence application slightly to achieve the dual outcome of voter registration and issuing of the licence, all under the supervision of public servants.
“As at present, young people over 17 years at the time of the licence issue could complete the enrolment process and the enrolment be automatically activated on their 18th birthday,” Mr Williamson said.
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