The Australian Electoral Commission is looking at ways to improve the efficiency of the process that sets up a candidate’s nomination and vote, a senior official said on Tuesday.
The move would be a welcome one for the US and could be a first step to reform the way the US votes in 2020.
AEC president Mark Brown said it would allow voters to cast their votes “with confidence”.
“The Commission is committed to improving the efficiency and fairness of the Australian electoral process and is currently working with the Department of Parliamentary Services and the Electoral Commission to develop an initiative to reduce the number of unnecessary and potentially expensive processes,” Mr Brown said in a statement.
“It is essential that the Australian Electoral Act remains effective, transparent and fair.”
The US Federal Elections Commission (FEC) had been considering an initiative, the American Electorate Project, for a while, but Mr Brown’s announcement comes on the heels of a report commissioned by the Commission which found that many US states were having difficulty maintaining the “sound” and “accurate” election records.
But the Australian government has said that it will not change the way voters vote in 2020, saying that the country still needs to improve on its “accuracy” and the “rigour” of the system.
Under the proposal, voters would cast ballots online and, in some states, would be required to provide their home address.
It would also require the voter to fill out a questionnaire on their preference to be verified by a third party.
If the questionnaire is negative, voters will be given a warning.
At the time of the election, the Commission had estimated that about 60 per cent of Australians would be able to cast ballots, but that would increase to more than 80 per cent if the country had the “right level of confidence” in the election results.
Mr Brown said the move was being proposed to help make the system more “robust”.
He said: “Electoral reform is not just about changing the rules, it is about improving the integrity of the voting system.”
While the US elections system was designed to ensure the public is informed about the candidates, he said, the AEC’s proposal could improve the integrity “by reducing the need for voter identification”.
In the US, voting is usually done by mail.
Voting machines are usually provided with a voter’s name, address and birth date, which is then printed on a piece of paper and scanned onto a ballot paper.
There is no centralised database that tracks how people vote, but it is common to see election returns that show who won, lost or abstained.