2017 ATSIEB election - voting

Updated 16 Jun 2017

Who is eligible to vote?

To be eligible to vote, a person must be:

  • an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander; and
  • at least 18 years of age; and
  • on, or entitled to be on, the ACT electoral roll – that is, they must be living in the ACT for at least the last month.

Eligible electors may vote in person at any polling place, or can cast a postal vote if they are unable to vote at a polling place.

As the electoral roll does not identify whether an elector is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander, the ATSIEB Act uses a combination of polling place Liaison Officers and a Review Panel to determine whether someone is entitled to vote at the election.

Liaison officer and review panel appointment and qualifications

Liaison Officers and the 3 Review Panel members are appointed by the ACT Electoral Commissioner, after consultation with the Elected Body.

There must be one Liaison Officer for each polling place during the hours of polling on each day. Polling cannot take place without a Liaison Officer present.

Liaison Officers and members of the review panel must be:

  • an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander; and
  • at least 18 years of age; and
  • on, or entitled to be on, the ACT electoral roll; and
  • must not be a candidate in the election.

Although not a statutory requirement, the Liaison Officers and Review Panel members must have a good knowledge of the Indigenous community in the ACT.

To apply to work as a liaison officer, complete the two page expression of interest and send it to elections@act.gov.au by 14 June 2017.

Casual work icon Expression of interest - Liaison officer - 2017 ATSIEB election

Role of the polling place liaison officer

The role of the Liaison Officer is to sight all voters entering a polling place and to decide on the balance of probabilities whether or not each voter is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. If the Liaison Officer believes that a voter is not an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander and challenges the voter’s right to vote, the voter cannot have an ordinary vote but may elect to cast a declaration vote.

If the voter elects to cast a declaration vote then the details of the Liaison Officer’s challenge will come to the Review Panel for investigation and decision on eligibility to vote.

This information will be provided to the Review Panel within 3 business days of the voter casting a declaration vote. No action will be required of the panel if the voter does not cast a declaration vote.

Role of the review panel in challenges to voter eligibility

The role of the Review Panel is to determine voters’ eligibility for all postal votes and all declaration votes that are cast.

The Review Panel must undertake any investigations that it considers necessary in order to determine the voter’s eligibility. This may include phoning the voter to establish family history, contacting relatives of the voter, contacting elders of the community, etc.

If any member of the panel decides on the balance of probability that the voter is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander then that voter’s declaration vote envelope will be opened and the voter’s ballot paper will be counted.

The panel will advise the Electoral Commissioner and the voter in writing of:

  • its decision; and
  • if there is no unanimous decision – the decision of each panel member.

The review panel must complete its review not later than 6 business days after polling close day, that is before 5pm,  Monday, 17 July 2017.

Voting at a polling place

At a polling place, electors will be issued with an ordinary vote or a declaration vote.

Ordinary voting

If a person is on the roll, and not already marked as voted, and the Liaison Officer does not challenge the eligibility of the person to vote, then the roll is marked and the ballot paper is issued. The person votes and puts the ballot paper in the ballot box.

Declaration voting

A voter will be issued with a declaration vote if:

  1. His or her name is not shown on the electoral roll; or
  2. His or her name is already marked as having voted on the roll; or
  3. His or her right to vote is challenged by the Liaison Officer.

If the voter’s name is not shown on the electoral roll

In the case of a voter’s name not being on the electoral roll, the voter must provide evidence of their living in the ACT to the Electoral Commissioner, within 3 business days after the last day of voting, that is, by 5pm Wednesday 12 July 2017. To do this the voter can:

  • provide evidence to the issuing officer at the polling place; or
  • provide evidence of their address to the Electoral Commissioner at his office within 3 business days after the last day of voting, that is, by 5pm Wednesday 12 July 2017.

Evidence of living in the ACT can be a driver’s licence, vehicle registration, purchase or lease papers, utility statements, student card etc.

If evidence of living in the ACT is provided, then the person is taken to be entitled to be enrolled for the purpose of the election.

If evidence is not provided, then the ballot paper will not be submitted to the count.

For further information