Medicare cards join list of accepted identification
[supplied by AEC]
From Friday, Australian citizens of voting age have been able to enrol to vote, or update their enrolment, using their Medicare card.
New enrolment transactions have been received throughout the weekend with people using the new option from the moment it was made available on Friday.
In response to an AEC request, the Government changed regulations that meant Medicare cards and Australian citizenship certificates joined Australian drivers licences and Australian passports as valid forms of evidence of identity for enrolment purposes.
While the electoral roll is at a remarkable 97.1 per cent complete, there remains an estimated 513,000 people nationwide who are eligible to enrol but are not on the roll.
A large portion of the people estimated to not be enrolled are young people aged 18-24, Indigenous Australians, new Australian citizens or people with a disability - eligible electors who are less likely than others to have certain forms of identification.
It has not only been more difficult for people without a driver’s licence or Australian passport to enrol online but those people have also been less likely to be picked up by the AEC’s Federal Direct Enrolment and Update program.
This permanent change will assist in getting enrolment as high as possible for the 2023 Referendum and future elections, but is also one of many measures in the AEC’s continuing journey towards achieving and maintaining enrolment at rates that are the envy of so many internationally.
Everyday there are people who turn 18, become an Australian citizen, move house, move overseas or unfortunately pass away. The AEC works tirelessly to maintain an electoral roll that is as complete and accurate as possible. This involves thousands of enrolment transactions daily that occur through a combination of direct enrolment and predominantly online enrolment transactions.
The AEC regularly reviews enrolment processes and sends millions of reminder messages by SMS and email to people who need to take enrolment action. As with completeness, the integrity and security of Australia’s electoral roll is vital and the AEC works diligently to uphold the highest standards.
Deputy Electoral Commissioner Jeff Pope said they were hopeful this process will further lift enrolments.
“Australians now have the ability to enrol to vote using their Medicare card as evidence of their identity - we’re hopeful this will further lift Australia’s already remarkable enrolment rate of 97%.
“This is a huge step in creating an easier process for all eligible citizens to enrol or update their details to vote.”
“Many of the approximately 513,000 people not enrolled to vote are 18-24 year olds, or First Nations people, or from our culturally diverse communities or are electors with a disability and many of these people may not have a driver’s licence or passport. This change makes it easier to enrol using an additional verifiable common source of ID,” Mr Pope said.
“The Government has stated their intention to hold a Referendum soon and as with any electoral event we run we want as many eligible people to be ready to vote as possible.
“If you’re not enrolled, whip out your Medicare card now and get it done. Go to aec.gov.au – it only takes around five minutes on your phone,” said Mr Pope.
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