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Voter ID Changes Earmarked For Next Poll

Voters could be forced to show identification to cast their ballot at the next federal election under a controversial coalition proposal.

Legislation based on a recommendation from parliament's electoral matters committee is expected to be introduced to federal parliament on Thursday.

Liberal senator and committee chair James McGrath wants laws in place before the next national poll, which is due by May next year.

Under the changes, people would need to produce ID such as a driver's licence or Medicare card in a bid to stamp out multiple voting.

Those without ID would be allowed to vote but have their credentials checked later.

Senator McGrath believes people will see the measure as straightforward given people are required to check-in to buy food and enter shops.

"If they want to buy a democracy sausage, they have to check in with their phones - a formal electronic identification," he told ABC radio on Thursday.

"But to be issued with a vote, no identification is required. This is a pretty sensible, non-controversial reform."

Labor has signalled a fierce fight against the bill, arguing it will make it harder for Australians to vote at the next election.

There are concerns people in remote Indigenous communities, those escaping domestic violence or the homeless will be disenfranchised.

"This underhanded attempt to erode confidence in Australia's elections is straight out of the playbook of the 'Try-Hard Trump', Scott Morrison," opposition frontbencher Don Farrell said.

"Instead of working for all Australians, Scott Morrison is working to ensure that those who might not vote for him, can't vote against him."

But Senator McGrath said voters found it weird that ID needed to be shown to enter a surf club but not to cast a ballot.

"It is just a simple, sensible measure to help protect the sanctity of the electoral roll and ensure that people do have confidence in our elections," he said.

People would already need to produce ID at polling booths for coronavirus contact tracing, he said.

Critics of the proposal have likened it to US-style voter suppression.

Electoral commissioner Tom Rogers told a Senate committee in March that problems with multiple voting at the 2019 poll were "vanishingly small".

The Greens are also strongly opposed to the changes, which Senator McGrath believes should be implemented without a trial at a by-election or another smaller contest.

Andrew Brown AAP with The Project