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Foreign renters can vote

28 Feb 2018

Non-Australian citizen renters can vote in the May lord mayoral election.

To be eligible, the person simply needs to have rented a rateable property within the City of Melbourne for more than a month and be over 18 years of age.

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has confirmed that international students, for example, are able to participate in the election.

Communications manager Mike Lagastes told CBD News that the eligibility rules surrounding City of Melbourne elections were more complex than in other municipalities.

He said commercial or residential renters of rateable property were eligible to apply to enroll with the City of Melbourne by March 16. The council’s website says only two renters per property could enroll.

The council enrollment form for renters (Voters’ Roll - Form D) does not ask for any evidence of rental history. It merely asks applicants to declare and sign that they are:

I am an occupier of the rateable property specified in Section 1;

I would not be an elector in respect of an address in the municipal district if a roll of electors for the Legislative Assembly were compiled; and

I am a resident of the municipal district.

Enrolments are open until 4pm on Friday, March 16. The one-month occupation criteria is defined as a month leading up to March 16.

The council’s website says: “To be eligible you must:

Be at least 18 years of age, or will attain the age of 18 on or before 12 May 2018;

Occupy (solely or jointly) a rateable property in the City of Melbourne municipal district; and

Be a resident of the municipal district for at least one month prior to 16 March 2018.”

Cr Jackie Watts is critical of the inconsistency between Melbourne’s electoral structure and other municipalities.

“In relation to voter eligibility criteria, the City of Melbourne should simply align with that of all other municipalities,” Cr Watts said.

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