Half a million Australian votes at risk, AEC says

By Melissa Coade

January 31, 2022

The AEC cautions the pandemic may delay the election result. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has contacted hundreds of thousands of Australians to boost the number of people enrolled to vote above 96% of the eligible population.

Australians are being reminded to enrol with the AEC to exercise their compulsory voting rights by visiting aec.gov.au.

In a statement on Friday, electoral commissioner Tom Rogers said it was estimated that there were currently 17 million eligible citizens registered to vote but he wanted to see that figure higher for this year’s federal election.

“Since the previous federal election in 2019, we’ve sent more than 5 million texts and emails to remind people to take enrolment action, and we’re now contacting another half a million eligible Australians,” Rogers said. 

“This is of course on top of the 1.5 million enrolment transactions we have processed in the past year alone.”

Rogers added that while Australia had one of the highest rates of enrolment in the world, which he said was a credit to the country’s ‘incredibly strong foundation of democratic participation’, the AEC always wanted to lift participation ahead of elections. 

Australia’s next federal election for parliament’s House of Representatives and a half-Senate election must be held this year by 21 May. Once an election date is announced, there is generally a week before the enrolment deadline.

Rogers also urged Australians who are already enrolled to consider updating their details if necessary. 

“If you’ve moved house recently or changed your surname don’t delay, update your enrolment now,” he said.


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