Despite a $12 million AEC advertising campaign to create awareness about the new voting enrolment process, GetUp/Roy Morgan polling published over the weekend found that 82% of people still don’t know about the changes.

But is the coalition overly worried about all those lost potential voters? Maybe not.

According to GetUp, people are still ignorant of the changes that close the rolls at 8pm the day the election is officially called, as opposed to the usual seven days after (during which 80,000 new voters enrolled before last election). But compared to the ALP’s efforts, it seems the Coalition isn’t trying too hard to encourage first time voters.

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Kevin07 devotes a page to getting out the vote:

And the Opposition Leader has been quite vocal on the subject of late. This is what he told the Austereo network earlier this month:

“My pitch to everyone listening to your program this morning is, it doesn’t matter who you want to vote for, get out there and get yourself on the electoral roll now and go down the post office, get yourself one of those green forms and fill it out,” he said.

“I think (the change) is really unfair and designed to keep young people off the voting roll,” he said.

“You’re going to have literally tens of thousands of young people who won’t be able to vote and if you’ve changed address, which a lot of your listeners would because they’re students, new jobs, moving from one city to another, then you don’t have much longer (to enrol before the election),” he said.

Tens of thousands of potential ALP voters. The Labor Party has already begun a drive to get expatriates to enrol to vote in the next federal election, based on research which shows they’re more likely to vote for Labor than the Coalition.

But with the rise of what Caroline Overington dubbed the South Park Conservatives during the 2004 election (although some disagree with this theory), why isn’t the Coalition raising the alarm with a bit more enthusiasm?

In conjunction with their TV ads, the AEC has been running the Rock Enrol campaign in conjunction with Triple J which aimsha to encourage young people to have their voice heard by enrolling to vote.

But the Prime Minister’s personal website doesn’t mention enrolling to vote at all.

And the Liberal Party’s website contains some inaccurate information:

You are eligible to enrol at 17 years of age.

If that confuses any prospective voters, they’re welcome to click on the link to the AEC website provided by the Liberal Party’s website — but then it takes them to a dead page:

So while there’s not much assistance coming from the Coalition, over the weekend GetUp launched their own enrolment drives across the country — they expect to enrol around 5,000 people by the end of the week.

According to Electoral Director Taren Stinebrickner, GetUp held around 16 drives over the weekend. Their numbers may seem small, but most interestingly, of the 925 people who said they were unenrolled or enrolled at the wrong address in stations in the marginal seats of Parramatta, Bennelong, Deakin, Wentworth, Bonner, Moreton, and Stirling, 400 were in Wentworth alone.

“These sorts of figures in marginal electorates demonstrate the dramatic effect these changes to the enrolment process will have on levels of participation in our democracy,” Stinebrickner told Crikey. “And in the end, that could make all the difference in this year’s election. After all, on current trends, Wentworth may well be decided by fewer than 400 votes.”

Crikey contacted Phil Diak from the AEC for a comment but he didn’t get back to us before deadline.

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Peter Fray
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