Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Am I on the list?

In the last month or so, I have confirmed online my electoral enrolment in two different countries. The laws allowing me to vote in two countries are a story in themselves, but it is interesting to compare the two enrolment systems.

I confirmed, that is, checked, my Australian enrolment online at https://oevf.aec.gov.au/, since an election is coming up on 24 November. It's probably too late to point this out, but if you need to change your enrolment details, you have until 8pm, about an hour from now (at least in Sydney - I'm not sure how the deadline fits in with timezones, so it might be no time at all in Tasmania!) This online service allows you to see your enrolment status, but not change it. Australian voters are required to enrol when they become elegible to vote, and then change their enrolment whenever they change address.

I also confirmed my British enrolment, in the sense of officially confirming to the authorities that none of the details of people living at my address on 15 October had changed since last year, at http://www.registerbyinternet.com/. The British electoral rolls are constructed on 1 December each year, based on where people live in October, according to forms that are sent to each household. The process can be done online or by phone if no details have changed.

While the British system does leave itself open to some electoral fraud (e.g. each person is not responsible for their own enrolment, it's legal to be enrolled at more than one address), the idea of a yearly reminder to check details may avoid some of the controversy that occurred in Australia concerning people who leave enrolling/changing their enrolment by the time an election is called.1 Then again, the general lack of need to enrol when moving means that the British system might have had trouble had the press been right about an election being held here as well. The roll would have been almost a year old, and while it is possible to enrol with "rolling enrolment" after the October forms go round, I don't think this fact is well known.

1 I don't actually think the reduction in the time allowed to enrol once the election is called has had much effect - I suspect most people who haven't paid attention to the resulting reminders to enrol earlier wouldn't have bothered once the election was called anyway.

1 comment:

tdix said...

You're on a roll