“Voter ID Laws are not about Democracy” by Billy Gordon.

We should all be nervous when Governments act against their own advice.Billy Gordon - Leichhardt

That’s what Queensland is doing by proposing new electoral laws requiring voters to have identification at the ballot box.

There is nothing wrong with Queensland’s electoral system.  The Attorney General’s own Discussion Paper says it in black and white, “there is no specific evidence of electoral fraud.”[i]

Yet Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie is pushing for laws he says will “better protect” the system.

Protect against who I ask?

Campbell Newman’s Government should come clean about its real agenda to introduce laws requesting residents to provide photo or other identification to be able to vote.

This legislation is clearly not about democracy or improving our electoral system.

It’s about disenfranchising the most vulnerable, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, young people, the elderly and people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

All of these groups are less likely to have identification, even the proof of address as suggested as a compromise for those who don’t have photo ID.

Just one year ago in America, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley said “voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID law does not further this goal.”

The government’s own Discussion Paper also goes on to suggest that introducing voter ID would simply create “voter confusion”.

So voter ID doesn’t create a “free and fair election”, I’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and it could create confusion.

Let’s get serious about this.

This is going to have a significant negative impact on groups in our society that really need a voice, and need their vote to count.

I ask the government what was the “extensive public consultation of more than 250 submissions”?  Were those groups who are going to be hit the hardest in this ‘faux’ reform consulted?


3 Comments on ““Voter ID Laws are not about Democracy” by Billy Gordon.

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However my understanding is that in order to vote, the process requires a person to be identified, for ID to be produced and ticked off when claiming ballot papers. Isn’t this already the procedure. Billy please enlighten me how the new proposed laws will charge the way voting will take place.

    • Currently, attending at a polling booth we only need to state our name, verify our address, and confirm we have not previously voted. The incidence of electoral fraud is almost nil. The new laws, among a range of other measures, will require anyone wishing to vote to present a photo ID. For those who hold a current driver’s licence, this should not be particularly difficult, although it will make the process longer & potentially create angst at polling booths. But what if you are not a licensed driver? For example: have a disability; are an older voter who has relinquished their licence; just don’t drive (more than 60% of Indigenous adults do not hold a licence); are a new young voter who hasn’t gained a ;licence? There is a system to register for voting by applying to the Electoral Commission for a written verification, but this requires understanding the rules, having the time to make the request, having a permanent address, etc etc. A similar system of voter ID is used in the USA in some states, particularly the conservative southern states, and its introduction decreases the rates of participation by specific groups. However, there are other issues included in this legislation which are of concern eg removing requirements and transparency related to Party donations; removing subsidies for smaller Parties – to name just two. Rather than ask why not make the changes, better to ask why the LNP is mooting these changes. Not pure of thought, I would suggest.

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