ACTCOSS today expressed its deep concern about the Federal Government’s proposed voter ID reforms.
The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Voter Integrity) Bill 2021 seeks to make it compulsory for voters to show identification before voting “to reduce voter fraud in the form of voter impersonation” – despite evidence showing that risk of voting fraud in Australia is negligible.
ACTCOSS A/g CEO, Craig Wallace said: “The bill is outrageous, completely unnecessary and a solution in search of a problem imported from the US talk show circuit.
“Voter fraud is not a problem in Australia and the AEC have estimated a vanishingly small risk of multiple voting. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) estimates that the rate of multiple voting in the 2019 election was 0.03 per cent.
“The bill if passed, will disproportionately affect those that may not have access to appropriate ID. The people to be disenfranchised will be vulnerable voters deeply impacted by the decisions of their representatives on issues like income support, quality services or the NDIS.
“People may not have ID for a number of valid reasons such as those experiencing homelessness, people recently leaving the justice system, those escaping domestic violence, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and young people who have not yet obtained ID. Some groups of people with disability also struggle to obtain ID – such as those without a drivers licence.
“It will further entrench those that are already struggling, will limit many people’s right to vote and may lead to many not voting at all,” Mr Wallace said.
The draft legislation states that individuals who do not have ID may complete a ‘declaration vote’ which requires someone with ID to vouch for them as well as a date of birth and permanent address.
“This exclusionary practice will still limit the right of many to have their voice heard and exercise their role in the democratic process, it will create barriers to voting rather than removing them.
“This verges on voter suppression. We strongly urge all parliamentarians to oppose the bill which diminishes Australia’s democracy and targets historically marginalised communities and I have today written to our local members and Senators in these terms,” Mr Wallace concluded.
For more information or comment, please contact
Craig Wallace, A/g CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0477 200 755.