Why shouldn’t you need ID to vote?
YOU need ID to rent a car, but not to vote. This week a report into the last election came out in Canberra and apparently the idea of getting people to prove who they are before they vote is too hot to handle and won’t be in place by next year’s election.
Those who argue against the obvious need for the change say it will disenfranchise poor people and make it impossible for them to vote. But the report doesn’t suggest photo ID alone. They say an electricity or water bill would be enough and if you don’t have one of them your Medicare card will do.
The bar couldn’t be lower; it’s hard to think there are that many people who don’t have at least one of those things.
Late in the week when the report was released, its critics said it was a solution in search of a problem because they say voter fraud isn’t a big deal in Australia. But the numbers the electoral commission released after the 2016 election tell a different story.
At the last election more than 18,000 people voted more than once. In Townsville the seat of Herbert was decided by fewer than 40 votes, but way more than that number of people were accused of voting more than once in that seat. How is that not case enough for voters having to prove who they are?
As we have seen in Canberra this week, the government doesn’t have a majority and one seat can make all the difference in their ability to run the country without going cap in hand to a bunch of protest vote independents. This isn’t a Labor/Liberal issue; it’s about making sure the Parliament actually reflects the will of the people, not the will of 18,000 people who voted more than once. If voter ID is such an out-
rageous idea, can we at least give poll workers iPads so when you turn up to vote you can slide a button next to your name and it will mark you off every polling place, ensuring even if you wanted to, you can’t vote more than once?
Again the critics say there’s no reason to change the current system. I say there are more than 18,000.
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Paul Murray is a broadcaster with Sky News. He can be seen on Paul Murray LIVE from 9pm AEDT Sunday to Thursday on Foxtel channel 600 and Sky News on WIN.
Should Australians be required to show identification when they vote in elections?