High Court defends right to vote

Activist group GetUp! had a big win in the High Court today, which will allow thousands of people who enrolled after the writs for the election to vote on 21 August. The reasons are yet to be announced, but the best analysis so far is this Inside Story article by election law expert Graeme Orr.

While I am not generally a fan of constitutionalised rights protection, I don’t see a major difficulty with very specific protections of basic political institutions such as the right to vote. As the sorry saga of the previous government’s 2006 amendments to electoral law – including the early closing of the roll and the political expenditure laws I have criticised many times – indicates, the temptation to use election regulation for political advantage is just too great for politicians to resist.

I’m not normally a fan of GetUp!, but they deserve credit for backing this case.