Federal Election 21 August 2010
Statement From The Australian Electoral Commission
Regarding Federal Court Decision In Using A Particular Digital Pen Methodology
Australian Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn
Victor P Taffa
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) acknowledges the Federal Court Decision today that a claim for enrolment by Ms. Sophie Trevitt meets the purposes of s.102 (1) (b) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act.
The AEC has therefore added Ms. Trevitt to the Electoral Roll this afternoon and she will be entitled to vote in the Federal Election.
The AEC notes that the particular methodology used by Ms. Trevitt in her online completion of an enrolment form was a digital pen on a trackpad for the purposes of providing a signature.
His Honour Perram J stated in his judgement (Getup Ltd v Electoral Commissioner 2010 FCA 869) today:
“22. Granted then that faxing and emailing a JPEG files satisfies, for the Commissioner’s purposes, the requirements of s.10 (1) (b), it must follow, and I find, that the signature tool and the Ozenrol site likewise satisfy that Provision.”
After the federal election the AEC will need to discuss the Decision with the Electoral Council of Australia, a body that includes the Electoral Commissioner and his Joint Roll Partners (State Electoral Commissions) to ensure that the methodology is appropriate for all enrolment purposes across the three tiers of government.
The AEC also will discuss the judgement and associated roll issues with the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in the next Parliament.
The AEC notes that GetUP Ltd publicly launched their Ozenrol portal on the day before the announcement of the election and withdrew it on day of announcement. The AEC does not have figures on any other attempted enrolments during this period.
The AEC also notes that another prospective claimant in this case to the Federal Court, Mr Steven Hind, sought to update his details using Ozenrol site but did not pursue his claims.
Mr. Hind’s case, however, quite apart from the deliberations of the Court were accepted by the AEC. Mr Hind used the Ozenrol site in making his claim for enrolment and did not provide a signature but was able to take advantage of the recent passage through the Parliament of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Pre-poll Voting and Other Measures) Act 2010 and the commencement of Schedule 2 to that Act on 19 July 2010.
These new measures allow online update of a Pre-Existing Federal Enrolment.