Australia Post has said it could be more heavily involved in the federal elections process within Australia, particularly in the digitisation of the voting process. The self-funding state-owned company told a Parliamentary inquiry into the 2013 federal elections that its existing role as a communications platform could be usefully expanded, particularly as Australians progress towards a “digital society”. Australia Post submitted evidence to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters to underline its experience, public trust and other credentials to support new directions and innovations in the nation’s electoral process. Its suggestions included providing voter ID authentication, managing the electoral roll and public access to it, and supporting the move towards secure electronic voting. “We are driven by the desire to evolve our role as the nation’s most trusted intermediary – to continue to be relevant to the social, commercial and civic fabric of Australia,” the company said.
Australia Post already provides voter enrollment forms through its 4,400 retail outlets and delivers enrollment materials to more than 10m households in the run-up to elections.
The company is also used for the delivery of campaign materials by candidates.
Senate estimates suggested nearly 2,000 people in Australia admitted to voting more than once during the 2013 federal elections, whether through error or intentionally, with authorities investigating 19,000 instances.
Australia Post said it could take a role in helping cut this voter fraud through an online verification system, where a citizen would be verified through various agreed data sources and confirmed prior to voting anonymously.
Alternatively, people could take ID documents to post offices to be verified in person. And, Australia Post’s existing Proof of Identity card system could help those without ID like driving licenses, while temporary voting kiosks could be set up in post offices where there is space.