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Less than half ACT's youngsters enrolled to vote


Lisa Cox

Fewer than half of the ACT’s youngest voters are enrolled to vote at the territory elections in October, according to the ACT Electoral Commission.

Just 48 per cent of eligible 18-year-olds have registered to vote, a dramatic fall from the 2008 election, when 80 per cent of that age group was on the electoral roll.

The number of 19-year-olds enrolled has also fallen sharply to 42 per cent, compared to 85 per cent in 2008.

About 80 per cent of 20-24 year olds are enrolled.

The figures have prompted the electoral commission to launch a social media campaign to draw in younger voters.

But Electoral Commissioner Phillip Green said the commission was not alarmed by the participation rates because new voters typically waited until the last few weeks before an election to enrol.

“It’s pretty common that younger people don’t get on the roll unless there’s an electoral event that spurs them into action,” Mr Green said.

“The reason the enrolment of 20-year-olds is higher is they would have been 18 at the time of the federal election in 2010.

“At every election you do see the number of 18 and 19-year-olds go up in the last few weeks before the roll closes.”

Canberrans have until September 21 to enrol to vote in the territory elections.

The commission has launched an Elections ACT Facebook page today, to try to capture younger voters and Canberrans who are not on the electoral roll.

“In total, only 92% of the ACT’s eligible citizens are listed on the electoral roll, and many of them are likely to be enrolled for a previous address,” Mr Green said.  “While over 250,000 electors are now on the electoral roll, around 20,000 eligible citizens are not enrolled.”

Mr Green said one of the consequences of the digital age was that too many eligible voters assumed they would automatically be put on the electoral roll.

“Unfortunately, people still need to complete an electoral enrolment form to update their enrolment, and provide proof of identity when enrolling for the first time,” he said.

Eligible voters can enrol online and check if their enrolment is up to date at  

Enrolment forms are also available at any ACT Post Office, ACT electoral office, My Way Centre or Canberra Connect.

Voters can follow Elections ACT on facebook and Twitter to get up-to-date news on the 20 October ACT election.

Facebook users who like the Elections ACT page before September 21, and who are enrolled to vote, will go into a draw to win one of two iPads. 



  • There was a huge push in 2006-07 by Triple J and other groups to get younger people enrolled to vote before the 2007 Federal election, primarily to vote against the LNP government of the time.
    Enrolments booths were set up at music festivals and other major events, removing the need for the potential voter to actively chase up an enrolment form.
    There has been no such campaign this time around, so numbers have dropped again.

    I actually suspect that the 80-85% was well above the average in previous elections too, as opposed to the norm.

    Date and time
    August 06, 2012, 3:13PM
    • Way back in the 70's when I because 18, I couldn't wait to enroll. However now, and especially given the very poor to mediocre standard of those putting their name forward for office (especially in the ACT), I wish I hadn't of bothered. Maybe these teens are showing a foresight that me and my generation didn't have.

      Steve T
      Date and time
      August 06, 2012, 4:58PM
      • Look at their leaders, they are hypocrites and liars. The old do as I say, and not as I do theory

        Date and time
        August 07, 2012, 8:38AM
        • There was more obvious choice between the two Parties in the 1980s and people were interested in the issues of the time. Since the grab for the middle ground, I cannot tell a watermelon from a whale.

          Outraged of Palmerston
          Date and time
          August 07, 2012, 8:46AM
          • Its simple, its "none of the above"... there is NO REASON to enrol.

            There should be a legitimate option to say "none of these clowns, they DONT represent me".

            Unfortunately Canberra
            Date and time
            August 07, 2012, 8:59AM
            • Not surprising at all. Good idea putting it on Facebook though, you have more success there than anywhere else!!!

              Date and time
              August 07, 2012, 12:31PM
              • Can't blame them for not wanting to get involved. The bitter, backwards, divisive looking Australia which Tony Abbott has fostered through his negativity is not something young people wish to be part of. The local Libs are a chip off Tony's block. Remove the bag ban, sling mud at the Chief Minister etc. Young people are interested in the future, not the 1950s which some of our pollies seem to be trying to recreate. Most Australians now view politicians as lower than pimps and used car dealers.

                Date and time
                August 07, 2012, 1:00PM
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