This is not an official AEC website. It has been made by an independent advocacy group as part of our campaign to make enrolling easier.
Government 2.0 doesn’t have to be about running nice fluffy community consultations online or getting MPs to use Twitter. It can be deeply practical too. So, with a federal election coming in Australia, advocacy group, GetUp!, have created a site to help people enrol or update their electoral role details online.
The fact that they’ve even created this site raises the question of why you wouldn’t just use the official Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) site? Well, because you can’t actually enrol online – the GetUp! site captures your enrollment electronically, but then faxes the form to the AEC.
However, according to the Sydney Morning Herald an AEC spokesperson has warned:
“A digitally constructed signature wouldn’t be valid, and we would require a hardcopy signature on an enrolment form”
This is odd, because the AEC will accept a scanned form via email. However, I’ve always thought that an email was good enough anyway under Australian law?
However, perhaps what is more concerning it the attitude all round with this problem. Why wouldn’t we want people to be able to enroll to participate in one of our most import civic rights, using the most convenient method possible? It also reminds me that digital inclusion is a two-way street.
Apparently, the AEC was swamped by people trying to beat the deadline for enrolments, which caused a few problems.
From the Daily Telegraph:
THE Australian Electoral Commission went into meltdown yesterday as thousands of first-time voters tried to register.
The AEC pleaded for patience as its fax lines jammed and many frantic voters swamped the phone lines trying to report the problem. A spokeswoman said the AEC was trying its best to cope with an unexpectedly large demand.
And the SMH:
The rush to join the roll ahead of the Monday night deadline was so fierce the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) at lunchtime boosted its call centre staff by 200 to 700.
The AEC website also crashed for almost an hour as Australians rushed to register to vote ahead of the August 21 poll.