Australian government launches online enrolment

In a push to capture 10 percent of Australians who aren't on the electoral roll yet, the Australian government has launched online enrolment.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Australians will now be able to enrol to vote through their mobile or tablet device, with the government today launching online enrolment.

Voting is compulsory in Australia for people over the age of 18 years, but the government estimates that close to 10 percent of the voting population, or 1.4 million people, are missing from the electoral roll.

To get everyone signed up ahead of the September election, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus today launched online enrolment services available through the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

"I encourage Australians to take advantage of the Australian Electoral Commission's new easy-access tablet- and mobile-friendly enrolment site to enrol or update their details online now for the federal election and referendum on 14 September," he said in a statement.

Signatures for the enrolment are gained either through the mouse on a desktop or through the use of a stylus or even a finger on a touchscreen mobile or tablet.

The ability to enrol online was only made possible after grassroots activist group GetUp took the AEC all the way to the High Court after the AEC argued that it could not, under law, accept enrolments online.

In the 2010 election, the system to lodge enrolment applications online required users to print out the form to sign.

The move may potentially bolster support for the troubled Labor government, which polls suggest is likely to lose to the Coalition by a significant margin at the next election. A Newspoll survey last year found that if the 1.4 million who were eligible to vote, but were not on the register — overwhelmingly those aged between 18 and 24 — were to vote, then the Coalition's primary vote would slip 1.5 percentage points.

People who still prefer the analogue method can obtain a form from the AEC, or through Australia Post, Centrelink, or Medicare offices.

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