Friday, 4 November 2016

Australian Electoral Commission asks 18,343 voters to please explain.....

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 2016:

More than 18,000 people have been asked to explain why they apparently voted more than once at the federal election.

Despite heavy fines and the risk of jail time for multiple voting, two people were marked off the electoral roll 11 times on July 2. 

A further two people had their names marked off five times, while four others had four marks and 51 people had three marks.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers told a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday night 18,343 people have been asked to explain why their name was checked off more than once, with many expected to be in error.

The Commonwealth Electoral Act allows for fines of $10,800 or up to a year in jail for people convicted of multiple votes. Anyone found to have impersonated someone else at the ballot box faces up to six months in jail or a fine of $1800.

Before this year's election the AEC wrote to more than 4600 people with a prior history of apparent multiple voting to remind them of the law.

Mr Rogers said individuals who had two or more marks next to their name at the past two elections were sent warning letters.

"We wrote to a select group of people we thought may be at risk of not understanding their obligations under the Electoral Act," he said.

"We've never done that before.

"That was an attempt to demonstrate the seriousness with which we treat this particular issue." 

AEC officials will assess how many recipients of the letters are among those recorded as having their name marked off more than once. 

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