Roll Up, Roll Up

I’ve belatedly come across some discussion on Crikey and Simon Jackman’s blog about whether there is a big pool of Australians who are not on the electoral roll. Simon makes a persuasive case that a gap may be emerging, but it is worth noting that there has been no gap in the past. Surprisingly, when you put together data on the number of Australian citizens aged over 18 (from the Census) and the number of people on the electoral roll (from the AEC), you find that the two series match almost perfectly. In 1996, there were 11,740,568 registered voters (in Mar 96), and 11,635,954 Australian citizens (in Aug 96). In 2001, there were 12,708,837 registered voters (in Nov 01), and 12,311,460 Australian citizens (in Aug 01). Historically at least, we’ve all been on the roll.

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2 Responses to Roll Up, Roll Up

  1. Kevin Cox says:

    Another interesting question is how many people are on the roll more than once. There may be many people who have not bothered to change their electoral details so there may be many dead people also many married women who change their names but either have not told the electoral office whether they have changed or who have registered again. Then there are the people who have changed addresses and reregistered but failed say they were on the roll but in a different electorate. The errors that can occur in the electoral roll are likely to overstate the number of people on the roll.

  2. Ian Holsman says:

    I had a friend I used to work with who wasn’t the roll. She just never bothered to fill in the form when she turned 18 (she was 26 at the time).

    I think the ‘trick’ is never getting onto their database in the first place.

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