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Active electoral roll management

The Commonwealth Electoral Roll—the list of Australians eligible to vote at federal elections—is integral to election delivery. The AEC’s key electoral roll activities are:

  • encouraging eligible voters to enrol and keep their enrolment up to date
  • targeted enrolment programs
  • enrolment processing
  • measuring accuracy of the roll

The AEC also supports state, territory and local government elections and by-elections by managing the electoral roll through joint roll arrangements. Information from the roll is provided to authorised people and groups in accordance with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act). See appendix C.

Highlights of the year

Largest ever electoral roll continues to grow

Australia has the largest and most complete Commonwealth Electoral Roll since Federation, with 16.4 million Australians enrolled to vote at 30 June 2019.

The Commonwealth Electoral Roll grew by 337,000 in 2018–19, and the enrolment rate of 97.11 per cent continues to exceed the AEC’s target of 95 per cent. With this growth, the number of eligible Australians not enrolled has declined, from 810,904 at 30 June 2018 to 628,547 at 30 June 2019.

In the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, the AEC processed 476,646 enrolment transactions during close of rolls.

The Indigenous enrolment rate

A key aim of the AEC’s Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP) is to increase the enrolment of Indigenous Australians. Reliable Indigenous enrolment rates inform and enable more effective, evidence-based policy settings and targeted activities to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s electoral participation. To support this, during 2018–19 the AEC designed, tested and implemented a new methodology to more accurately estimate Indigenous enrolment rates. While final data was not available at 30 June 2019, future data will be published annually at www.aec.gov.au

Roll data and extracts

Under the Electoral Act, the AEC is required to provide electoral roll data or extracts to registered political parties, government departments, and other recipients as specified. This includes providing electoral roll information to companies that provide identity verification services to other businesses.

A list of the current companies entitled to receive roll information for identity verification is set out in Regulation 8 of the Electoral and Referendum Regulation 2016. Under subsection 90B(4) of the
Electoral Act, private sector organisations may receive roll information for identity verification processes related to the Financial Transactions Reports Act 1988 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.

Government departments and agencies are also entitled to receive electoral roll information if they are a ‘prescribed authority’, under item 4 of subsection 90B(4) of the Electoral Act. Each department and agency must justify access through its statutory functions and the Privacy Act 1988. The distribution of roll data was suspended following the issue of the writs for the 2019 federal election on 11 April 2019.

A list of registered political parties, government departments, and other recipients of roll data and extracts is in appendix C. More information on access to electoral roll data is at www.aec.gov.au

Data highlights

  • The electoral roll continues to grow, exceeding last year’s achievement as the largest and most complete since Federation. In 2018–2019:
    • more than 16.4 million electors enrolled
    • the enrolment rate at 30 June was 97.1 per cent
  • 3.3 million enrolment transactions were processed
  • Ninety-nine non-election roll information extracts were provided to state electoral bodies during the year under the joint roll arrangements. Roll data or extracts were also provided to:
    • 31 registered political parties
    • 48 Senators and House of Representative members
    • 14 government departments
    • six other recipients
  • Fifty-four roll closes were provided to support:
    • one federal election
    • one federal by-election*
    • two state elections
    • 56 single jurisdiction elections (state and local government area by-elections and elections)

For more information go to:

  • the performance statement – agency direction one
  • appendix C
  • www.aec.gov.au


  1. For the five by-elections on 28 July, rolls closed in June 2018 and were reported in the previous financial year.