Elections in the United Kingdom
There are six types of elections in the United Kingdom: elections to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elections to devolved parliaments and assemblies, elections to the European Parliament, local elections, mayoral elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Within each of those categories, there may be by-elections as well as general elections. Elections are held on Election Day, conventionally a Thursday. Since the passing of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 for general elections, all six types of elections are held after fixed periods, though early elections to parliament and the devolved assemblies and parliaments can occur in certain situations. Six electoral systems are used: the single member plurality system, the multi member plurality system, party-list proportional representation, the single transferable vote, the additional member system and the supplementary vote. Elections are administered locally: in each lower-tier local authority, the polling procedure is operated by the acting returning officer or returning officer, the compiling and maintenance of the electoral roll by the electoral registration officer.
The Electoral Commission sets standards for and issues guidelines to returning officers and electoral registration officers, is responsible for nationwide electoral administration. The total number of names in the United Kingdom appearing in Electoral Registers published on 1 December 2010 and based on a qualifying date of 15 October 2010 was 45,844,691. In England and Wales, anyone who will be aged 18 or over on polling day and, a national of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, a Commonwealth country or a European Union Member State, can apply to the electoral registration officer in the local authority area where they reside with a'considerable degree of permanence' to be listed in that area's Electoral Register. In Scotland, those fulfilling the nationality requirements who will be aged 16 or over on polling day can register to vote, as the age for voting in Scottish Parliament and local elections is 16. However, voters in Scotland under 18 are not entitled to vote in European Parliament and UK general elections.
A person can still register at their ordinary address. A person who has two homes may be able to register to vote at both addresses as long as they are not in the same electoral area. In addition, to qualify to appear on the Electoral Register, applicants who are Commonwealth citizens must either possess leave to enter or remain in the UK or not require such leave on the date of their application and no applicant may be a convicted person detained in prison or a mental hospital or a person found guilty of certain corrupt or illegal practices. In Northern Ireland, a further criterion has to be fulfilled to qualify for registration: it is possible for a person to apply to be listed on the Electoral Register only if they have been resident in Northern Ireland for at least three months prior to the date of application. Remand prisoners, voluntary patients in mental hospitals and people without a fixed place of residence can register to vote by making a declaration of local connection. Members of HM Forces and their immediate family members have the option of registering as a service voter, by making a service declaration based on their last UK address.
British citizens residing outside the United Kingdom can register as an overseas voter provided that they were on the Electoral Register in the UK within the previous 15 years. The 15-year period begins when they no longer appeared in the electoral register, not the date they moved abroad. British citizens who moved abroad before they turned 18 years old can still qualify for registration, with the 15-years period calculated from the date their parent/guardian ceased to appear in the Electoral Register. Overseas voters can only vote in European Parliament and UK Parliamentary elections in the constituency of their last registered UK address. British citizens who are away overseas temporarily do not need to register as overseas electors and can register to vote in the usual way at their UK address. Crown servants and British Council employees employed in a post outside the UK can register by making a Crown Servant declaration, allowing them to vote in all UK elections. An individual can register as an anonymous elector if his/her safety would be at risk were his/her name and address to be disclosed publicly on the Electoral Register, but the application needs to be supported by a relevant court order, injunction or an attestation by a chief police officer or a Director of Social Services.
The right of Commonwealth and Irish citizens to vote is a legacy of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which limited the vote to British subjects. At that time, "British subjects" included the people of Ireland — part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland — and
Elections in Australia
Elections in Australia take place periodically to elect the legislature of the Commonwealth of Australia, as well as for each Australian state and territory. Elections in all jurisdictions follow similar principles, though there are minor variations between them; the elections for the Australian Parliament are held under the federal electoral system, uniform throughout the country, the elections for state and territory Parliaments are held under the electoral system of each state and territory. Part IV of Chapter 1 of the Australian Constitution deals with eligibility for voting and election to the federal Australian Parliament, it does not prescribe. Election campaigns and associated political advertisements have some regulation. Public funding of political parties and party registration was introduced in 1983. Voting is entirely conducted by paper ballot and is compulsory for adults; the informal vote is not significant, but a donkey vote is more common. They may, have a deciding impact in marginal seats.
The Parliament of Australia consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives has 150 members, elected for a maximum term of three years in single-member constituencies. Elections are conducted by a system of preferential voting; the Senate has 76 senators, elected through a preferential system of proportional representation with a system of single transferable vote, with each state constituting a single constituency returning 6 senators every three years and each territory constituting a single constituency returning two senators. Electors in the two territories elect senators for non-fixed terms that are defined by the term of the House of Representatives. State senators serve fixed six-year terms, except in the case of a double dissolution, with half of the seats in each State expiring every three years. In the event of a double dissolution, the terms of all the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives seats end immediately. Although elections for the House of Representatives have corresponded to half-elections of the Senate, the rules which determine when the elections occur differ.
Under the Constitution, the House of Representatives lasts no more than three years after it first meets, but may be dissolved earlier. After the House is dissolved or expires, writs for election must be issued within 10 days and the election must be held on a Saturday between 33 and 58 days after the writs have been issued; the next House must meet within 140 days of the writs being issued. The terms of senators representing the states are of fixed duration, elections must occur within a year before the term expires; the terms of senators representing the territories are not fixed, are tied to the dates of elections for the House of Representatives. Where a House is dissolved early and Senate elections may be asynchronous until either the House is again dissolved sufficiently early or a double dissolution occurs; the Australian Constitution requires that in half-Senate elections the election of State senators must take place within one year before the places become vacant. As the terms of half the senators end on 30 June, the writs for a half-Senate election cannot be issued earlier than the previous 1 July.
There is no constitutional requirement for simultaneous elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives, elections for half the Senate only have taken place in the past. There is a government and electorate preference for Senate elections to take place with those of the House of Representatives. Except in the case of a double dissolution, the Senate is not dissolved when elections for the Senate are called and can continue to sit until the term expires. However, it is now a practice for the Senate to be prorogued when the House is dissolved, so that it does not sit during the election period. By Westminster convention, the decision as to the type of election and date on which an election is to take place is that of the Prime Minister, who'advises' the Governor-General to set the process in motion by dissolving the House of Representatives and issuing writs for election; the Australian Electoral Commission is the federal government agency responsible for organising and supervising federal elections, by-elections and referendums.
State and Territory Electoral Commissions perform an equivalent role for State and Territory elections. The AEC is responsible for seat boundaries and redistributions, maintains the Commonwealth electoral roll, used by the state and territory Electoral Commissions to conduct State and local government elections. Western Australia maintains its own electoral roll. Enrolment on the electoral roll, known in some countries as registration, is compulsory for all Australian citizens aged 18 years and over. Residents in Australia, enrolled as British subjects on 25 January 1984 can continue to be enrolled and vote. Since 1984, eligible people have had seven days after a federal election is called to enrol or update address details. For the 2007 federal election, the deadline for new enrolments was reduced to 8 pm on the same business day as the issue of the writs, 8 pm on the third business day to update address details; the deadline for enrolment is taken with reference to the date an election is called and not the actual election date, a person not enrolled by the deadline cannot vote.
Enrolment can be done online or by com
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states; the Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was created as the British Commonwealth through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, formalised by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931; the current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernised the community, established the member states as "free and equal". The human symbol of this free association is the Head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II, the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting appointed Charles, Prince of Wales to be her designated successor, although the position is not technically hereditary.
The Queen is the head of state of 16 member states, known as the Commonwealth realms, while 32 other members are republics and five others have different monarchs. Member states have no legal obligations to one another. Instead, they are united by English language, history and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; these values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. The countries of the Commonwealth cover more than 29,958,050 km2, equivalent to 20% of the world's land area, span all six inhabited continents. Queen Elizabeth II, in her address to Canada on Dominion Day in 1959, pointed out that the confederation of Canada on 1 July 1867 had been the birth of the "first independent country within the British Empire", she declared: "So, it marks the beginning of that free association of independent states, now known as the Commonwealth of Nations." As long ago as 1884 Lord Rosebery, while visiting Australia, had described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".
Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers occurred periodically from the first one in 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The Commonwealth developed from the imperial conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations" and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in essence" at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, attended by delegates from the Dominions as well as Britain; the term first received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, when the term British Commonwealth of Nations was substituted for British Empire in the wording of the oath taken by members of parliament of the Irish Free State. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".
The term "Commonwealth" was adopted to describe the community. These aspects to the relationship were formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada without the need for ratification, but Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect. Newfoundland never did, as on 16 February 1934, with the consent of its parliament, the government of Newfoundland voluntarily ended and governance reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland joined Canada as its 10th province in 1949. Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1947 respectively. Although the Union of South Africa was not among the Dominions that needed to adopt the Statute of Westminster for it to take effect, two laws—the Status of the Union Act, 1934, the Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act of 1934—were passed to confirm South Africa's status as a sovereign state. After the Second World War ended, the British Empire was dismantled. Most of its components have become independent countries, whether Commonwealth realms or republics, members of the Commonwealth.
There remain the 14 self-governing British overseas territories which retain some political association with the United Kingdom. In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. Burma and Aden are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon independence. Former British protectorates and mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt, Transjordan, Sudan, British Somaliland, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates; the postwar Commonwealth was given a fresh mission by Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas Day 1953 broadcast, in which she envisioned the Commonwealth as "an new conception – built on the highest qualities of the Spirit of Man: friendship and the desire for freedom and peace". Hoped for success was reinforced by such achievements as climbing Mount Everest in 1953, breaking the four-minute mile in 1954
The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture, with their own language, a rich mythology, distinctive crafts and performing arts. Early Māori formed tribal groups based on organisation. Horticulture flourished using plants; the arrival of Europeans to New Zealand, starting in the 17th century, brought enormous changes to the Māori way of life. Māori people adopted many aspects of Western society and culture. Initial relations between Māori and Europeans were amicable, with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, the two cultures coexisted as part of a new British colony. Rising tensions over disputed land sales led to conflict in the 1860s. Social upheaval, decades of conflict and epidemics of introduced disease took a devastating toll on the Māori population, which fell dramatically.
By the start of the 20th century, the Māori population had begun to recover, efforts have been made to increase their standing in wider New Zealand society and achieve social justice. Traditional Māori culture has thereby enjoyed a significant revival, further bolstered by a Māori protest movement that emerged in the 1960s. In the 2013 census, there were 600,000 people in New Zealand identifying as Māori, making up 15 percent of the national population, they are the second-largest ethnic group in New Zealand, after European New Zealanders. In addition, more than 140,000 Māori live in Australia; the Māori language is spoken to some extent by about a fifth of all Māori, representing 3 per cent of the total population. Māori are active in all spheres of New Zealand culture and society, with independent representation in areas such as media and sport. Disproportionate numbers of Māori face significant economic and social obstacles, have lower life expectancies and incomes compared with other New Zealand ethnic groups.
They suffer higher levels of crime, health problems, educational under-achievement. A number of socioeconomic initiatives have been instigated with the aim of "closing the gap" between Māori and other New Zealanders. Political and economic redress for historical grievances is ongoing. In the Māori language, the word māori means "normal", "natural" or "ordinary". In legends and oral traditions, the word distinguished ordinary mortal human beings—tāngata māori—from deities and spirits. Wai māori denotes "fresh water", as opposed to salt water. There are cognate words in most Polynesian languages, all deriving from Proto-Polynesian *maqoli, which has the reconstructed meaning "true, genuine"; the spelling of "Māori" with or without the macron is inconsistent in general-interest English-language media in New Zealand, although some newspapers and websites have adopted the standard Māori-language spelling. Early visitors from Europe to New Zealand referred to the indigenous inhabitants as "New Zealanders" or as "natives".
The Māori used the term Māori to describe themselves in a pan-tribal sense. Māori people use the term tangata whenua to identify in a way that expresses their relationship with a particular area of land; the term can refer to the Māori people as a whole in relation to New Zealand as a whole. The Māori Purposes Act of 1947 required the use of the term "Māori" rather than "Native" in official usage; the Department of Native Affairs was renamed as the Department of Māori Affairs. Before 1974, the government required documented ancestry to determine the legal definition of "a Māori person". For example, bloodlines or percentage of Māori ancestry was used to determine whether a person should enroll on the general electoral roll or the separate Māori roll. In 1947, the authorities determined that a man, five-eighths Māori had improperly voted in the general parliamentary electorate of Raglan; the Māori Affairs Amendment Act 1974 changed the definition, allowing individuals to self-identify as to their cultural identity.
In matters involving financial benefits provided by the government to people of Māori ethnicity—scholarships, for example, or Waitangi Tribunal settlements—authorities require some documentation of ancestry or continuing cultural connection but no minimum "blood" requirement exists as determined by the government. The most current reliable evidence indicates that the initial settlement of New Zealand occurred around 1280 CE, at the end of the medieval warm period. Previous dating of some kiore bones at 50–150 has now been shown to have been unreliable. Māori oral history describes the arrival of ancestors from Hawaiki, in large ocean-going waka. Migration accounts vary among tribes, whose members may identify with several waka in their genealogies. In the last few decades, mitochondrial-DNA research has allowed an estimate to be made of the number of women in the founding population—between 50 and 100. Evidence fro
Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, 1,412 kilometres directly east of mainland Australia's Evans Head, about 900 kilometres from Lord Howe Island. Together with the two neighbouring islands Phillip Island and Nepean Island it forms one of the Commonwealth of Australia's external territories. At the 2016 Australian census, it had 1748 inhabitants living on a total area of about 35 km2, its capital is Kingston. The first known settlers in Norfolk Island were East Polynesians but they were long gone when Great Britain settled it as part of its 1788 settlement of Australia; the island served as a convict penal settlement from 6 March 1788 until 5 May 1855, except for an 11-year hiatus between 15 February 1814 and 6 June 1825, when it lay abandoned. On 8 June 1856, permanent civilian residence on the island began when it was settled from Pitcairn Island. In 1914 the UK handed Norfolk Island over to Australia to administer as an external territory.
The evergreen Norfolk Island pine is pictured on its flag. Native to the island, the pine is a key export for Norfolk Island, being a popular ornamental tree on mainland Australia, worldwide. Norfolk Island was settled by East Polynesian seafarers either from the Kermadec Islands north of New Zealand or from the North Island of New Zealand, they arrived in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, survived for several generations before disappearing. They must have disappeared at least a few hundred years before Europeans arrived as the island was covered with forest by then; the first European known to have sighted and landed on the island was Captain James Cook, on 10 October 1774, on his second voyage to the South Pacific on HMS Resolution. He named it after Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk. Sir John Call argued the advantages of Norfolk Island in that it was uninhabited and that New Zealand flax grew there. In 1786 the British government included Norfolk Island as an auxiliary settlement, as proposed by John Call, in its plan for colonization of New South Wales.
The decision to settle Norfolk Island was taken due to Empress Catherine II of Russia's decision to restrict sales of hemp. All the hemp and flax required by the Royal Navy for cordage and sailcloth was imported from Russia; when the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in January 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip ordered Lieutenant Philip Gidley King to lead a party of 15 convicts and seven free men to take control of Norfolk Island and prepare for its commercial development. They arrived on 6 March 1788. During the first year of the settlement, called "Sydney" like its parent, more convicts and soldiers were sent to the island from New South Wales. Robert Watson, arrived with the First Fleet as quartermaster of HMS Sirius, was still serving in that capacity when the ship was wrecked at Norfolk Island in 1790. Next year he cultivated a grant of sixty acres on the island; as early as 1794, Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales Francis Grose suggested its closure as a penal settlement, as it was too remote and difficult for shipping and too costly to maintain.
The first group of people left in February 1805, by 1808 only about 200 remained, forming a small settlement until the remnants were removed in 1813. A small party remained to slaughter stock and destroy all buildings, so that there would be no inducement for anyone from other European powers, to visit and lay claim to the place. From 15 February 1814 to 6 June 1825 the island was abandoned. In 1824 the British government instructed the Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane, to occupy Norfolk Island as a place to send "the worst description of convicts", its remoteness seen as a disadvantage, was now viewed as an asset for the detention of recalcitrant male prisoners. The convicts detained have long been assumed to be a hardcore of recidivists, or'doubly-convicted capital respites' – that is, men transported to Australia who committed fresh colonial crimes for which they were sentenced to death, but were spared the gallows on condition of life at Norfolk Island. However, a 2011 study, using a database of 6458 Norfolk Island convicts, has demonstrated that the reality was somewhat different: more than half were detained at Norfolk Island without receiving a colonial conviction, only 15% had been reprieved from a death sentence.
Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of convicts sent to Norfolk Island had committed non-violent property offences, the average length of detention there was three years. The British government began to wind down the second penal settlement after 1847, the last convicts were removed to Tasmania in May 1855; the island was abandoned because transportation from the United Kingdom to Van Diemen's Land had ceased in 1853, to be replaced by penal servitude in the UK. The next settlement began on 8 June 1856, as the descendants of Tahitians and the HMS Bounty mutineers, including those of Fletcher Christian were resettled from the Pitcairn Islands, which had become too small for their growing population. On 3 May 1856, 193 people had left Pitcairn Islands aboard the Morayshire. On 8 June 194 people arrived; the Pitcairners occupied many of the buildings remaining from the penal settlements, established traditional farming and whaling industries on the island. Although some families decided to return to Pitcairn in 1858 and 1863, the island's population continued to grow.
They accepted additional settlers, who arrived with whaling fleets. In 1867, the headquarters of the Melanesian Mission of the
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the lack thereof in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be not guilty; the old institution of grand juries still exists in some places the United States, to investigate whether enough evidence of a crime exists to bring someone to trial. The modern criminal court jury arrangement has evolved out of the medieval juries in England. Members were supposed to inform themselves of crimes and of the details of the crimes, their function was therefore closer to that of a grand jury than that of a jury in a trial. The word jury derives from Anglo-Norman juré. Juries are most common in common law adversarial-system jurisdictions. In the modern system, juries act as triers of fact. A trial without a jury is known as a bench trial; the "petit jury" hears the evidence in a trial as presented by the defendant.
After hearing the evidence and jury instructions from the judge, the group retires for deliberation, to consider a verdict. The majority required for a verdict varies. In some cases it must be unanimous, while in other jurisdictions it may be a majority or supermajority. A jury, unable to come to a verdict is referred to as a hung jury; the size of the jury varies. In civil cases many trials require fewer than twelve jurors. A grand jury, a type of jury now confined exclusively to federal courts and some state jurisdictions in the United States, determines whether there is enough evidence for a criminal trial to go forward. Grand juries carry out this duty by examining evidence presented to them by a prosecutor and issuing indictments, or by investigating alleged crimes and issuing presentments. A grand jury is traditionally larger than and distinguishable from the petit jury used during a trial with 12 jurors, it is not required. Grand juries can be used for filing charges in the form of a sealed indictment against unaware suspects who are arrested by a surprise police visit.
In addition to their primary role in screening criminal prosecutions and assisting in the investigation of crimes, grand juries in California and some other U. S. states are sometimes utilized to perform an investigative and policy audit function similar to that filled by the Government Accountability Office in the United States federal government and legislative state auditors in many U. S. states. A third kind of jury, known as a coroner's jury can be convened in some common law jurisdiction in connection with an inquest by a coroner. A coroner is a public official, charged with determining the circumstances leading to a death in ambiguous or suspicious cases. A coroner's jury is a body that a coroner can convene on an optional basis in order to increase public confidence in the coroner's finding where there might otherwise be a controversy. In practice, coroner's juries are most convened in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety by one governmental official in the criminal justice system toward another if no charges are filed against the person causing the death, when a governmental party such as a law enforcement officer is involved in the death.
Serving on a jury is compulsory for individuals who are qualified for jury service. A jury is intended to be an impartial panel capable of reaching a verdict. Procedures and requirements may include a fluent understanding of the language and the opportunity to test jurors' neutrality or otherwise exclude jurors who are perceived as to be less than neutral or partial to one side. Juries are chosen randomly from the eligible population of adult citizens residing in the court's jurisdictional area. Jury selection in the United States includes organized questioning of the prospective jurors by the lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant and by the judge—voir dire—as well as rejecting some jurors because of bias or inability to properly serve, the discretionary right of each side to reject a specified number of jurors without having to prove a proper cause for the rejection, before the jury is impaneled. A head juror is called the "foreperson", "foreman" or "presiding juror"; the foreperson may be chosen before the trial begins, or at the beginning of the jury's deliberations.
The foreperson may be selected depending on the jurisdiction. The foreperson's role may include asking questions on behalf of the jury, facilitating jury discussions, announcing the verdict of the jury. Since there is always the possibility of jurors not completing a trial for health or other reasons one or more alternate jurors are selected. Alternates are present for the entire trial but do not take part in deliberating the case and deciding the verdict unless one or more of the impaneled jurors are removed from the jury. In Connecticut, alternate jurors are dismissed. Connecticut General Statutes 51–243 and 54-82h do not allow alternat
Electoral system of Australia
The Australian electoral system comprises the laws and processes used for the election of members of the Australian Parliament. The system presently has a number of distinctive features including compulsory enrolment, compulsory voting, majority-preferential instant-runoff voting in single-member seats to elect the lower house, the House of Representatives, the use of the single transferable vote proportional representation system to elect the upper house, the Senate; the timing of elections is governed by political conventions. Elections are held every three years and are conducted by the independent Australian Electoral Commission. Federal elections, by-elections and referendums are conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission. A person can only vote; the AEC maintains a permanent Commonwealth electoral roll. The earliest electoral roll in Australia dates to the 1840s, for the colony of New South Wales. Following federation in 1901, State electoral rolls were used for federal elections until a permanent Commonwealth electoral roll was compiled in 1908.
For some years afterwards, the States continued to compile their own State electoral rolls, but these have now been discontinued, except for Western Australia which maintains a separate electoral roll. State and local elections are today based upon the Commonwealth electoral roll, maintained under joint roll arrangements. Though each state and territory regulates its own part of the electoral roll; the one enrolment application or update form can be used for Commonwealth and local rolls. The electoral roll is compiled in alphabetical order of surname; until 1988 electoral rolls were compiled by polling sub-division. Lord Howe Island is recorded as part of New South Wales, while the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island are recorded on the Northern Territory roll. Enrollment on the federal electoral roll of eligible voters has been compulsory since 1911. At the time, the requirement to register applied to "British subjects" over the age of 21, the registration of indigenous Australians was not compulsory until 1984.
The voting age, consequential requirement to register, was reduced to 18 in 1974. In 1984, the criteria for the right to vote, requirement to register, became Australian citizenship. Residents in Australia, enrolled as British subjects in 1984 could continue to be enrolled. Today, the requirement to register applies to Australian citizens over 18 years of age who have lived at their current address for at least one month. Special rules apply to citizens going or living outside the country, to military personnel and to prisoners, all of which do not reside at their normal residential address for electoral purposes. Homeless people or those otherwise with no fixed address have a particular problem with registration, not having a current address to give. Enrolment is optional for 16 or 17 year olds but they cannot vote until they turn 18. Enrolment is voluntary for residents of Norfolk Island. If a change of address causes an individual to move to another electorate, they are obliged to notify the AEC within 8 weeks.
The AEC monitors house and apartment sales and sends a reminder to new residents if they have moved to another electorate, making compliance with the law easier. The AEC conducts periodic door-to-door and postal campaigns to try to ensure that all eligible persons are registered in the correct electorate. An individual has 8 weeks after turning 18 to register and the 8 week period applies to update of details. Failure to enroll or update details can incur a fine. However, citizens who enroll themselves are protected from prosecution for not enrolling in the previous years by section 101 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. About 1.3 million people otherwise eligible to vote had not been enrolled prior to the 2013 federal election, about one-third of which were aged between 18 and 24. At June 2014 there were 14.9 million electors on the roll, the number not enrolled was 1.2 million, resulting in a "participation rate" of 92.5%. Each state and territory can regulate its own part of the Commonwealth electoral roll.
For example, New South Wales has adopted the "Smart Roll" system, introduced in 2009, which draws information from various government departmental sources and enrolls eligible electors automatically on to the state roll, but not the federal roll. A protection in Section 101 exists for offences prior to enrolment for those enrolled in such a way by the Electoral Commissioner. Anyone serving a prison sentence of 3 years or more is removed from the federal roll, must to re-enrol upon release; the qualification of an elector for local government elections do not require that they be Australian citizens. Federal and state electoral rolls are closed for new enrolments or update of details before each election. For federal elections they are closed about a week after the issue of writs for election, which must be issued within 10 days of the dissolution or expiration of the House of Representatives. For the 2016 election, 38 days before election day. Most new applications and updates are received after an election is called, before the closing of rolls.
In 1984 a change to the Commonwealth Electoral Act allowed for a closing date for the lodgement of changes to the electoral roll be