[LINK] High Court case Re: Register Online to Vote Should be Legal

Philip Argy pargy at argystar.com
Sun Jul 25 13:44:20 AEST 2010

Section 98(2)(b) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 simply requires a
claim form (in the approved form) to be "signed by the claimant".  I have
little doubt that s. 10 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 enables that
signing to be performed by electronic means.  However, and this aspect does
not seem to have been much discussed, the immediately following subparagraph
(c) requires the claimant's signature to "be attested by an elector or a
person entitled to enrolment, who shall sign the claim as witness in his or
her own handwriting".

Whilst I have not seen exactly how the GetUp site was implemented, I'd be
sceptical that a witness could satisfy that provision by using a mousepad.
A proper signing tablet with stylus could possibly satisfy the requirement,
and of course the physical requirement of witnessing of the claimant's
signature also has to be met.

So any legal challenge in my view is going to hinge on GetUp's ability to
demonstrate that their system ENSURED compliance with s.98(2)(b) as well as
the requirement for the claimant to sign.


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