With a referendum around the corner, Council to Homeless Persons is urging people working in Victoria’s homelessness services to help clients enrol to vote. It takes five to ten minutes to help a person to enrol. Given the very high level of disenfranchisement of people without homes, it is important that we in the specialist homelessness sector do our part to help people maintain this core right of citizenship in Australia.
How to help someone to enrol
The electoral roll closes just seven days after an election is called, which means that there is not much time to check or update your enrolment – or enrol for the first time – after an election is called.
For referendums roll closure depends on the timing of writ. Keep an eye on the Australian Electoral Commission’s website for more information on when this will occur.
Every Australian has the right to vote, but people who move often are particularly likely to be kicked off the electoral roll. People without homes are among the most disenfranchised in Australia, which is why it is so important for those working in the specialist homelessness sector to help.
There are two main steps to helping someone without a home to enrol.
1/ Check enrolment
Checking enrolment can be done on the Australian Electoral Commission website at www.check.aec.gov.au
The primary task for an individual is to recall the streets on which they might currently be enrolled as living on. When checking if a person is on the roll, remember to try searching for the First and Middle names (if they have them).
2/ Update enrolment or enrol for first time
If the person has a driver’s license or passport…
If a person’s enrolment needs updating, or they are enrolling for the first time, it is fairly simple to do online if the person has a driver’s license or passport.
Fill out a No fixed address enrolment form on the Australian Electoral Commission website with the person you are supporting. They can enrol to vote in the electorate:
where they last lived
where their next of kin lives
where they were born
where they have the closest connection (if none of the above applies).
If the person does not have a driver’s license or passport…
You can still help someone to update their enrolment or enrol for the first time if they do not have a driver’s license or passport. However, you must be:
willing to confirm their identity, and
This method will require printing an Enrolment for persons with no fixed address in Victoria form from the Australian Electoral Commission and filling it out in hardcopy.
The paper form can then be submitted in a number of ways, including by post, fax, uploading online, or in-person. Further details are included on page one of the form.
Within three weeks of receiving the enrolment form, the Australian Electoral Commission will confirm enrolment.
Someone with no fixed address, for the purposes of the AEC enrolment form, includes people who are:
itinerant and don’t have a real place of living, that is a place to which you intend to return to live, even if you are temporarily living somewhere else
experiencing homelessness – if you are living in crisis or transitional accommodation or if you have inadequate access to safe and secure housing.
Enrolment is not compulsory for persons with no fixed address who are not already enrolled. However, it is compulsory to maintain enrolment if you are currently enrolled. People without a home should use the use the Enrolment for persons with no fixed address in Victoria form to update their enrolment. Voting is optional once a person is enrolled as having no fixed address.
For more information, visit www.aec.gov.au