Laws requiring early electoral roll closure ruled unconstitutional

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

From SMH, news just in:

The High Court have ruled that Howard-era laws which close the electoral rolls on e day that writs for an election are issue are invalid… Activist group GetUp! brought the constitutional challenge, arguing the laws effectively disenfranchised young people.

Great work by GetUp!: the closing of the rolls on the day the writs were issued have never been explained as anything other than simple disenfranchisement of young people: Australians cannot be on the roll before 17 and only tend to enrol for the first election they are eligible to vote in, so this has very effectively locked new voters out of at least their first election.

They may also seek a ruling to allow electronically signed enrolment forms: at present the AEC insists on having a physical signature made with a pen, or facsimile thereof (ie, as produced by a fax machine or a scanner).

Update: the AEC has a statement about the decision, and will now inform voters who submitted enrolment forms on or before July 26 that they are eligible. However they will have to make a declaration vote, because the printed books will not include their names:

… voters affected by today’s decision who attend a polling place on election day (or early voting centre) will have to cast a declaration vote and provide an accepted form of evidence of identity. The AEC therefore urges those electors to carry their driver’s licence or other accepted form of identity with them when voting to easily meet these requirements…

Other acceptable forms of ID are given in the statement.