Less than half of the ACT’s young people are enrolled to vote

Published 6 Aug 2012

Less than half of the ACT’s 18 and 19 year olds are enrolled to vote for October’s Legislative Assembly election, the ACT Electoral Commissioner, Mr Phillip Green said today.

The ACT Electoral Commission is hoping to lift this participation rate by using social media to engage with young people about enrolment and voting in the lead up to the election, with the launch today of the Elections ACT facebook page.

“Only 48% of eligible 18 year olds in the ACT are enrolled to vote, while only 42% of 19 year olds are enrolled. Around 78% of 20-24 year olds are enrolled,” Mr Green said.

“In total, only 92% of the ACT’s eligible citizens are listed on the electoral roll, and many of them are likely to be enrolled for a previous address,” Mr Green said. “While over 250,000 electors are now on the electoral roll, around 20,000 eligible citizens are not enrolled.

“ACT citizens have only 7 weeks to enrol or check their enrolment is up to date before the rolls close for the October election,” Mr Green said. “Electoral rolls will close on 21 September. Enrolment is compulsory for all citizens 18 and over.

“It is very common for people to leave updating their electoral enrolment to the last minute. In this digital age, many people believe that they will be automatically entered on the electoral roll and their address will be automatically updated when they move.

“Unfortunately, people still need to complete an electoral enrolment form to update their enrolment, and provide proof of identity when enrolling for the first time. The good news is that this can now be done on-line,” Mr Green said.

“Social media users who ‘like’ the Elections ACT facebook page can go into a draw to win one of two iPads – but they must also be enrolled to vote for the ACT election. The competition closes on 21 September, the day the rolls close for the election,” Mr Green said.

Elections ACT will use facebook and Twitter to not only inform electors about the upcoming ACT election, but also to engage with social media users in a dialogue about the enrolment and voting process.

“At the time of the last ACT election, in October 2008, 80% of eligible 18 year olds were enrolled to vote, while 85% of 19 year olds and 91% of 20-24 year olds were enrolled. Over 97% of all eligible ACT citizens were enrolled for the 2008 election. We hope that we can achieve a higher participation rate for this year’s election by using innovative ways of communicating with young people,” Mr Green said.

In the lead-up to the election, Elections ACT will also be conducting a more traditional advertising campaign, with two information brochures to be delivered to all ACT households and advertisements to appear on TV and radio and in newspapers. A detailed election guide will be published on election day in the Canberra Times. The www.elections.act.gov.au website also contains a wealth of information about the ACT election.

“The most important step to take at this time is to make sure you’ve got your enrolment into shape. If you’ve changed address and haven’t let us know, or if you’ve recently turned 18 or 19 and haven’t yet enrolled, please do it now,” Mr Green said.

Eligible citizens can enrol online and check if their enrolment is up to date at www.elections.act.gov.au. Enrolment forms are also available at any ACT Post Office, ACT electoral office, My Way Centre or Canberra Connect.

You can follow Elections ACT on facebook and Twitter to get up-to-date news on the 20 October ACT election.