Enrolling to vote the 'digital' way

Enrolling to vote the 'digital' way

Summary: Enrolling to vote or changing your enrolment address can be a pain in the behind if you don't want to leave your house, which is why ZDNet Australia has decided to show how it can be done in an almost — yet not totally — "digital" way.


blog Enrolling to vote or changing your enrolment address can be a pain in the behind if you don't want to leave your house, which is why ZDNet Australia has decided to show how it can be done in an almost — yet not totally — "digital" way.

With the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) saying 1.4 million people are "missing" from the electoral role — the majority being people aged between 18 and 19 — my colleague Josh and I thought we'd create a tutorial showing how to enrol, which doesn't require you to leave your house. Bonus!

All in all it took us around 10 minutes. Pretty good I thought.

We originally thought you'd have to post your completed form to the AEC, but that isn't the case.

The AEC has adopted email, and, provided you can scan a copy of your completed form, downloadable via PDF, you can send a copy of it to your local AEC branch.

What you'll need

  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • PDF software
  • Pen
  • Scanner
  • Printer
  • Patience

Step 1

First, you'll want to download your state's PDF enrolment form. It can be downloaded here.

Download your state's PDF

Download your state's PDF enrolment form.
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

Step 2

Once downloaded, complete the form and print the required pages. In my case, I only needed to print one as I have a driver's licence.

Print your enrolment form

Only print the pages you need. I only needed one and accidentally printed four.
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

Step 3

Once printed, you'll now need to sign and date stamp the form.

Sign and put a date on your enrolment form

Sign and put a date on your enrolment form.
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

Step 4

Now that you've signed your form and placed the date that you signed onto it, you'll need to scan a copy of it.

Scan your enrolment form

Scan your enrolment form
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

Step 5

We're almost there! Now all you need to do is send your scanned form via email to your local AEC office. To do so, you'll need to put your postcode into a tool at the bottom of the page linked here. It will give you the email address you need to email your form to.

Find your local AEC office email address

Find your local AEC office email address.
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

Step 6

Send your form via email to the address provided in step 5. You're done!.

Email your scanned enrolment form

Email your scanned enrolment form.
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

Update at 2:13pm, 15 July 2010: Removed an inaccuracy suggesting the AEC only accepted black-and-white forms.

Topics: Government, Government AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • I completed my change of address form for the Electoral Roll "digitally" too. I got a pen, filled it out (holding the pen in my hand, with my fingers, so... digitally) put it in the envelope (again, with my fingers, so digitally) and then put it in the post box (you guessed it, using my fingers, digitally)...
  • @KatieKate
    You totally had to leave the house to do that though.
  • The AEC offers Acrobat Forms enabled PDFs. You should be able to enter all your details except your signature into the PDF in Adobe Reader, then print it for signing.

    The tricky ones among us might print it to a virtual image or PDF printer instead, overlay our saved copy of our scanned signature in Photoshop/Acrobat Pro/GIMP/whatever, and send the result off to the AEC without a single piece of paper being harmed in the process.
  • I recently had to change my address and it was a complete pain in the a$$. They didn't have e-mail from what I can recall (must be a fairly recent addition?), so I tried to fax it to them but it was always engaged, ended up having to snail-mail it to them, couldn't believe it, in 2010 there was still no way for me to do something as simple as change my address without filling out forms and mailing it off to people. Even this method you list above is ridiculous, print out a form, sign it, scan it back into your computer and e-mail it? How about they just provide a web portal where we can update our address? If they are worried about security, just send out 2 snail-mail letters once the change of address is complete to your old and new addresses, giving you a number to CALL if this was incorrect.
  • Just one small error with the above post. The AEC DOES accept coloured scanned forms in colour, but PLEASE ENSURE YOUR SCANNED FORM IS NO BIGGER THAN 2mb FILE SIZE.
  • unfortunately the electoral act 1918 has always prohibited poeple from enrolling online because a signature is required. However this legislation is about to be amended! About time!
  • @babel,

    Thanks for pointing this out. I'm sure I read black-and-white somewhere. Will amend.

    According to the site, it says "keep file size to less than one megabyte (1Mb)".

  • Vote by phone will be the best just register your voice id then use any land line or moble to make the call to vote , no one vote more than once adding good security , your voice is more secure that any other id , finger print and eye can be copied but no your voice , its up to the government to bring it in they would save money and carbon credits , no paper is used , we don't drive cars to vote no stalls with staff , i have seen a demo of this , it is called the Simptel voting system