Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn said the purpose of the 'Count Me In' campaign was to prompt Australians to enrol to vote and to keep their details current.
"It's been compulsory to enrol to vote for 100 years and it's part of our democratic fabric, but the estimated number of missing voters is serious and comparable to a city the size of Perth or most of Brisbane disappearing off the map.
"That's not good for the health of our democracy," he said.
From today, the AEC will send a postcard to every Australian household. The postcard will outline the three easy steps to enrol or update enrolment details.
A national online advertising campaign, stencil art on the pavements of capital cities, and community radio advertising and other media and public relations activities will support the campaign.
"The AEC is reaching out to all households because the 1.5 million missing voters is a very large group that is widely distributed throughout the community," Mr Killesteyn said.
"While our data tells us that only one in two 18–19 year olds are on the electoral roll, the issue is not confined just to youth, but ranges across a wider 18–39 age group. Some Australians may not have enrolled to vote for one or two or more elections."
Mr Killesteyn added that another substantial category of missing voters are those who do not update their address details after moving house, and later drop off the electoral roll.
"This group includes Australians of all ages, and I encourage them to take the time now to check and ensure their enrolment is in order.
"At each election, some Australians miss out on their vote because they've left enrolment too late. This campaign is all about not waiting until an election is called."
All Australian citizens aged 18 years and over must enrol to vote. Australians aged 16 and 17 can enrol now and vote when they turn 18.
To check if you're enrolled to vote visit www.aec.gov.au/check or call the AEC on 13 23 26 for help. The AEC website has contact details for people wishing to speak to someone in another language. For more information or to enrol to vote, visit www.aec.gov.au.
'Count Me In' is part of the AEC's 2012 Year of Enrolment, which marks the 100th anniversary of compulsory enrolment and the 50th anniversary of the Indigenous right to vote.
Editor's note: Figures of missing voters by state/territory
|State/Territory||Estimated number of missing voters||Average missing in each electorate|
|New South Wales||475 800||9 900|