Changes made to State Elections

2010

The Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Further Amendment Act 2010 commenced on 7 December 2010.

This legislation:

  • provided for technology assisted voting for persons with impaired vision or with certain other disabilities and for people unable to vote by reason of location.

It also:

  • made amendments consistent with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to allow 16 year olds to provisionally enrol (although they cannot vote until they are 18)
  • simplified the wording of the instructions on the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council ballot papers
  • removed the voting requirement for certain election officials i.e the Electoral Commissioner will not vote for either the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council, and a Returning Officer for an electoral district is ineligible to vote for the Legislative Assembly for that District
  • amended the Government (Public Access) Act 2009 to provide that there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of information prohibited by certain sections of the Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912, and to provide that information relating to the investigative or prosecuting functions of the Election Funding Authority is 'excluded information', and
  • enabled changes to be made to NSW electoral rolls as a consequence of any change to any roll kept by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Amendment Act commenced on 28 April 2010.

This legislation:

  • provided for the Electoral Commissioner to conduct an investigation into the feasibility of internet voting and to report to the Premier on a proposed model. (The NSWEC submitted its Report on the Feasibility of Providing the “iVote” Remote Electronic Voting System to the Premier in late July 2010. The Premier tabled the Report in Parliament on 2 September 2010.)
  • clarified that the requirement for authorisation of electoral material does not apply to T-shirts, buttons, badges and certain other articles.
  • provided that the Electoral Commissioner must not register electoral material for distribution on polling day, if it appears to the Electoral Commissioner, that the material does not clearly identify the person, political party, organisation or group on whose behalf the material is to be distributed, and
  • facilitated the registration of political parties in NSW under the same name as they are registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

2009

Important reforms under the Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Amendment (Automatic Enrolment) Act 2009 were passed by Parliament on 1 December 2009 and commenced on 24 September 2010.

The amendments:

  • provided for a form of automatic enrolment of electors on the rolls for State and local government elections
  • allowed persons eligible to enrol in an electoral district, to enrol and provisionally vote for that district on polling day, provided the person can produce a NSW Photo driver licence or a Photo Card issued by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority
  • enabled centralised processing of postal vote applications and allow such applications to be made on-line
  • allowed 'ordinary' voting (ie, dispense with declaration envelopes) for electors at pre-poll voting places and ‘declared institutions’ within the district for which the elector is enrolled, and
  • increased the penalty for failing to vote from $25 to $55 to bring NSW State elections in line with local government and other jurisdictions.

2006

A number of changes were made to the Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 to be in place for the 2007 NSW State Election. These included:

  • renaming the State Electoral Office the New South Wales Electoral Commission
  • giving the Electoral Commissioner greater responsibilities, authority and accountability in the overall management of the election process and the appointment of election officials.
  • making Returning officers responsible for the overall administration of the election within an electoral district
  • making polling place managers responsible for the conduct and administration of the election at polling places on election day
  • prohibiting the sale of the electoral roll and its commercial use, and introducing heavy penalties for misuse of electoral information
  • requiring all material to be distributed on election day to be registered by the Electoral Commissioner
  • bringing eligibility requirements to be a registered general postal voter in line with the Commonwealth provisions.