Excluding Citizens Of “Unsound Mind” From Voting

The Estimates Committee of the Senate today discussed the issue of excluding people of “unsound mind” from voting.

Questioning of Australian Electoral Commission officials was led by Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice.

Section 93.8 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act says that enrolment will be denied to “a person who by reason of being of unsound minds, is incapable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting“.

The AEC officials indicated that, depending on the period of the electoral cycle, around 6,000 to 16,000 people are designated as of unsound mind. For the current year to the end of January, 2700 people are listed as such.

Many people designated as of unsound mind are elderly people suffering from dementia. It was noted that the expression “unsound mind” is offensive to some people.

  • Watch an extract from Senate Estimates (6m)
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