Voter entitlement for Australians and support for electoral events and redistributions through maintaining an accurate and up-to-date electoral roll
In 2009–10, Outcome 1 was delivered through two programs, as shown in Table 6.
1 Voter entitlement for Australians and support for electoral events and redistributions through maintaining an accurate and up-to-date electoral roll.
1.1 Electoral roll management
1.2 Support services for electoral redistributions
Facilitate correct electoral enrolment by eligible people so that they can properly exercise their franchise. This is achieved by ongoing maintenance and review of the electoral roll so that it is accurate and up-to-date for the conduct of elections. In addition, provide accurate and appropriate electoral roll products to eligible people and organisations.
Provision of high-quality support services to the various committees carrying out electoral boundary redistributions so that redistributions result in boundary alignment that meets legislative objectives.
Program 1.1 will deliver letters and other forms of contact to electors to encourage them to enrol or to update their enrolment based on data indicating elector change of address, new eligibility, or failure to participate.
Fieldwork involving visits to habitations to encourage electors to enrol or to update their enrolment based on data indicating elector change of address, new eligibility, or failure to participate.
Program 1.2 will deliver support for the redistributions culminating in the AEC providing updated electoral boundary redistribution maps and advice to impacted electors.
On 30 June 2010, 13 901 840 people were enrolled to vote, a net increase of 9 278 since 30 June 2009. The AEC estimates that this represents 89.7 percent of those who were eligible to enrol and vote. The participation rate has declined from a high of 92.3 percent at the time of the 2007 federal election, and decreased since 2008–09.
The gap between the number of people enrolled and those eligible to enrol has increased in recent years. The growth in the estimated number of people not enrolled reflects the fact that the Australian population continues to grow at a faster rate than the rate of enrolment. This remains one of the more significant challenges for the AEC.
In part, the decline is due to the mandatory removal from the electoral roll over the course of the year of some 346 000 electors whom the AEC had determined no longer lived at their enrolled address and had not lived at that address for at least one month.
The AEC processed 16.8 percent more enrolment transactions in 2009–10, an increase of some 336 000 transactions, compared to 2008–09. A significant portion of these transactions resulted from electors who updated their enrolment details following a move, frequently after being contacted by the AEC. In the absence of this contact, a significant number of electors may have been removed from the electoral roll.
Recognising that no single process or program of enrolment can cover the needs of all electors, the AEC conducts a wide range of activities that seek to engage with and enrol electors around Australia. These activities employ a mixture of mail, online, phone, SMS, email and in-person contact, and may be individually targeted or more generic.
Mail review activity continued to be the primary source of enrolment transactions during 2009–10, contributing a significant proportion of transactions for changes in enrolment details, new enrolments and re-enrolments. The number of letters sent to people who are not enrolled and electors who have moved without updating their enrolment increased considerably, from 2.5 million letters in 2008–09 to 4.6 million letters, including 1.2 million reminder letters sent to people who did not respond to the first letter they received. The AEC improved the efficiency and effectiveness of mail review activities by:
The AEC enrolment SmartForm was introduced in September 2009, enabling electors to apply online. Around 70 percent of electors who used the online service also sent a signed hard copy of the form to the AEC within seven days, to complete their enrolment.
The Joint Commonwealth–State Roll Management Group was established during 2009–10 to support the growth, maintenance, integrity and accuracy of the electoral roll – the factors that underpin the successful conduct of electoral events. A multi-level approach is applied to collectively managing the electoral roll, as the group includes members from each state and territory electoral commission in addition to the AEC.
During 2009–10, the AEC provided timely and accurate electoral roll products for more than 70 electoral events, some 400 roll products to state and territory electoral commissions under joint roll arrangements, and 2 474 roll products to selected recipients with entitlements specified in the Electoral Act.
Three redistribution processes were active during 2009–10. The AEC provided support and analysis to the augmented Electoral Commissions for New South Wales and Queensland and the Redistribution Committee for Victoria.
During 2010–11, the AEC will focus on ensuring that the electoral roll is as up-to-date and accurate as possible by:
The redistribution of federal electoral boundaries in Victoria will conclude during 2010–11 with a report detailing the new boundaries to be released in late 2010.
A redistribution of federal electoral boundaries in South Australia will commence in 2010–11, as seven years has elapsed since the previous redistribution was determined (on 17 December 2003).