18 Y.O. Says He Was Denied SSM Postal Survey Form Despite Proving Enrolment

An 18-year-old Sydney bloke said he’s been denied a postal vote for the same-sex marriage survey, despite verifying his ability to vote with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) before the enrolment cut-off date.

Patrick Cairnduff said he contacted the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) seeking a replacement vote when his didn’t arrive before September 25, but the ABS rebuffed the request, saying it was unable to “verify [Cairnduff’s] details against the commonwealth electoral roll so cannot process [his] request at this time.”

Guardian Australia was able to verify that Cairnduff enrolled with the AEC in February, just before his 18th birthday. AEC policy says teens are able to enrol on a provisional basis before their 18th birthday, at which point they’re automatically added to the official list of voters.

The ABS didn’t offer any information to Cairnduff as to why his details couldn’t be verified, but they did say the issue would be investigated, and that they’d return an answer in the following days. The final day postal votes will be accepted is November 7.

Speaking to Guardian Australia, Cairnduff said the vote was of intense personal significance, as his mothers are in a same-sex relationship.

Describing bullies at school who targeted his parents’ relationship, Cairnduff said “it shocks me to think that those kind of people can vote on whether my mums can get married and I can’t.”

Critics of the postal survey have previously questioned the ability of the ABS, which is administering the survey, to adequately make use of the postal details provided by the AEC.

There have also been fears the survey has been ill-administered, with numerous reports of postal votes being discarded or sent to the wrong address.

From us, to Cairnduff: we hope you get the chance to lodge that vote, ASAP. To everyone else who hasn’t yet received their form in the mail, peep the instructions to gain a replacement HERE.