Could Voter Fraud Swing Australian Elections?

Could Voter Fraud Swing Australian Elections? By Kurt Mahlberg.

Australia uses paper ballots only, and the count is always scrutinized close-up by representatives from all concerned parties. However, there are no ID checks — allowing people to vote multiple times, or in the name of other people. Furthermore, signatures are not verified when enrolling.

It is often said that Australia’s electoral systems are among the best in the world. But a 2015 University of Sydney study on election integrity found that Australia ranks just 34th out of 139 nations — behind New Zealand, Canada, Lithuania, Costa Rica, and many European countries. …

In a 2000 television interview, now retired Liberal MP Hon Christopher Pyne went on record to say, “There are a lot of people out there who have been involved in electoral frauds for purposes of preselections or elections who are too terrified to come forward and talk about it.”

Alex Howan, a NSW Liberal Party vice president, has likewise stated that, “Electoral fraud, malpractice and errors are a common feature of the Australian electoral system.”

Electoral commissioners have made similar admissions. According to NSW electoral commissioners R. Cundy and Ian Dickson, “that the electoral system is open to manipulation is beyond question… fraudulent enrolment is almost impossible to prevent.”

Even a visiting UK election commissioner, Richard Mawrey QC, remarked that “Australia’s postal voting system is a recipe for voting frauds,” and that “if the avenues for vote frauds exist, then one can expect that they will be used, due to the incentives of political power.”

New South Wales’ Mark Latham MLC, who sought to oust John Howard as Prime Minister at the 2004 federal election, warns that, “It’s quite possible in Australia… that we’ve notionally elected governments that don’t deserve to be there, [where] a fair counting of the votes would dictate that the legitimate government of the day wasn’t actually elected.” Retired politicians Nick Minchin, Peter King and Ross Cameron have all likewise agreed that voter fraud is a significant problem that has been swept under the carpet by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Following the 2016 federal election, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that over 18,000 letters were sent by the AEC to voters who had cast fraudulent votes by voting more than once. … None of these people faced prosecution. …

Lex Stewart, former President of Vote Australia, has uncovered many more unpublished instances of voter fraud. He lodged a statutory declaration after the 2007 federal election with evidence that 200 of [PM] John Howard’s ballot papers went missing from the Epping West polling booth. Howard lost his seat by a narrow margin. Both the AEC and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) refused to countenance the allegations. Stewart has likewise sounded the alarm that,

The AEC Electoral Commissioner admitted to a parliamentary committee that just shortly before the 2015 New South Wales state election, the NSW electoral roll contained 139,898 more names than the federal electoral roll for NSW, and also that there were 102,427 electors enrolled at different addresses.

Indeed, in a 2019 JSCEM inquiry submission, Lex Stewart listed over a dozen cases of alleged voter fraud spanning three decades, some of which resulted in an MP losing their seat …

Lex Stewart is friends with a man who was stabbed and bashed for speaking up about preselection and electoral fraud within the Labor Party. His friend remains nameless for the sake of his safety, but his story appeared on the front page of the Daily Telegraph in 1999. Confessing to fraudulent voter activity he once engaged in, the man testified:

We used to do that all the time when I was in the ALP. Sussex Street headquarters would give us a list of 600 names, and there was a group of us — at least a dozen, perhaps 20 — and we would go from polling booth to polling booth, voting in different names. Sometimes we didn’t even bother finishing the list, and by mid-afternoon we would all go to the pub… [We did this in] federal elections, state elections [and] council elections. It’s been happening for 10 to 15 years that I know of. And we never got caught or questioned. …

During 2020, major fraud was exposed in Victoria’s Labor party. This echoed events uncovered by the Shepherdson Inquiry in Queensland. ALP member Karen Ehrmann ultimately served prison time for electoral fraud, and she maintained that she was merely the ‘patsy’ and that many others in her party were guilty of the same activities during the late 80s and early 90s. …

The 2001-2002 ANAO [Australian National Audit Office] report … revealed that 4.4 percent of the 12.6 million people on the electoral roll (over 550,000 names) had records that were unable to be matched elsewhere. If false enrolments and ‘cemetery votes’ have been taking place, warns Stewart, this is where they would be hiding. …

But strangely, no one can be bothered fixing the system. Hmmm.

So why has Australia’s government not acted on these issues? This is the million-dollar question. There has been no shortage of inquiries, reports and recommendations aimed at securing Australia’s electoral integrity. …

Finally, Stewart draws attention to an odd inclusion in section 361 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act which forbids anyone — including even the High Court of Australia — from enquiring into the correctness of the electoral roll. Given the thousands of false enrolments that his organisation has found over the years, he contends that “this is a ridiculous situation that needs to be fixed urgently” so that these incidents can be scrutinised and set right.

In an increasingly less high-trust society, this is not acceptable.

It is simply an invitation to the corrupt and will eventually — like in 2020 in the US — lead to an election result that is widely disbelieved. Then what? A fake insurrection and barbed wire around Parliament House? Let’s fix the voting system before we get to that.