More than 180,000 voters in WA face fines for not voting in federal election

by admin on January 20th, 2019

filed under 南京夜网

Voters in WA who failed to cast a ballot at the recent federal election face a $20 fine. Photo: Jamila Toderas Voter turnout was as bad as it has ever been across Australia. Photo: Max Mason Hubers MMH
Nanjing Night Net

More than 180,000 people enrolled to vote in Western Australia could be slugged with a fine for failing to vote at the recent federal election.

The July election saw more than 1.4 million Australians fail to cast a vote for the House of Representatives, which is the worst turnout since compulsory voting began in 1925.

In WA, of the 1,577, 215 people enrolled to vote, 183,209 didn’t bother to tick the ballot box on election day.

That’s just under 12 per cent of eligible voters in WA.

Now the voter no-showers in WA have been sent a letter from the AEC saying if they can’t give a valid reason for not voting by October 17 – they will be hit with a $20 fine.

If people miss the October deadline, then they run the risk of getting a $180 fine plus court costs.

One Fremantle resident who didn’t want to be named, said she was gobsmacked when the letter arrived as she actually hadn’t enrolled to vote.

“I have no recollection of enrolling or going onto a website and enrolling or anything,” she angrily told WAtoday.

“I am angry because I thought you couldn’t get fined unless you were enrolled to vote.”

The 19-year-old said she had no option but to pay the $20 fine.

“I would rather pay the fine then it going to court,” she said.

AEC WA state manager Marie Neilson said while the turnout was pretty low for the recent federal election not everyone sent a letter would be fined.

“You can finalise the notice by paying a $20 fine,” she told Radio 6PR on Friday afternoon.

“However, if you haven’t voted and haven’t paid the penalty we may take the matter to court and it might result in a fine of up to $180, plus court cost and possibly a criminal conviction.”

The AEC had previously told Fairfax it made a concerted effort before the election to boost enrolment figures, including directly enrolling people based on information from other government agencies such as Centrelink.

It meant 95 per cent of Australians aged 18 and over were on the electoral roll, up from 92 per cent in 2013.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said this increase may have contributed to the lower voter turnout, because “you end up enrolling people who tried to avoid voting for years”. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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