Postal vote applications: Integrity checks – frequently asked questions

Updated: 29 September 2023

No. The AEC checks every returned postal vote against the electoral roll. Once a person is marked off the roll with an accepted returned postal vote, any duplicate received for that enrolment record would not be accepted and the voter would be marked as an apparent multiple voter.

Rarely but it can happen. The AEC performs checks of postal vote applications against the electoral roll before sending out a postal ballot paper. If two applications are the same and appear to be for a single elector, one will be discarded. While even this is rare, the discarding of a dual application is the most common occurrence for any unintentional dual application submitted by an elector.

If two applications appear similar but have minor discrepancies the AEC will fulfill both applications – this is done as part of a very largescale operation and in the interests of ensuring that AEC actions don’t result in an eligible voter not receiving a ballot paper. Erring on the side of providing a ballot paper outbound is process long undertaken and completed safe in the knowledge that very strict electoral roll checks occur for completed postal ballot papers inbound. The volume is low and integrity checks are in place.

It happens rarely but can be caused by someone being a ‘general postal voter’ and then applying for a one-off postal vote for an election or referendum with slightly different details on the application. It can also be two applications lodged by a person where they nominate different addresses for receipt or have slightly different spelling in the key application details. There may also be circumstances in which the AEC may also send out a second postal vote if the person has not received their first one. All these circumstances rare and the strict check of the electoral roll on postal votes inbound ensures one vote per eligible voter.

No. Small in scale and not new. Postal voting has been administered the same way for many federal elections.

No. The roll check on inbound, completed postal votes is strict.

They should simply complete and return one ballot paper and destroy the other one. This will not result in a non-voter notice being received – non-voter notices are drawn from the electoral roll (where we mark off who has and hasn’t voted), not the identification numbers on postal vote certificates.

In addition to strict roll checks, the application involves a security question and answer process and there is a legal declaration made by voters. The AEC’s counting centres operate in a secure environment where ballot papers are stored in ballot paper secure zones and tasks are performed/checked by multiple operators. All aspects of the count are open to scrutineers in what is one of the most transparent electoral processes in operation.

This is effectively like a receipt number for a specific application. If the application is unfulfilled, that is fine. The enrolment record – and getting marked off the electoral roll – is the identifier for the AEC as to whether or not a person has voted. Roll mark-off occurs for inbound postal votes and all AEC early voting centres have electronic certified lists with real-time mark off of voters.

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