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Millions of Aussies could face $120 fine for failing to vote in elections


Australia is one of just 16 countries that makes this compulsory and if you fail to do it, the costs could continue to rise.

Millions of Aussies are required to vote in NSW’s local elections on Saturday and failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $120 and suspension of their driver’s license.

Voting is compulsory and residents who do not vote will be hit with a $55 fine in the mail. Failure to pay the fine within 28 days can result in additional fees of $65, while fighting the matter in court would cost even more.

Voters will also have to follow Covid procedures to prevent the spread of the virus, which is expected to make the process more time consuming, with rules including signing in, social distancing and throwing away pens after using them.

The new Covid procedures mean the 124 council elections will cost a whopping $57 million as further easing of restrictions don’t come into effect on NSW until December 15.

“We know Covid-19 has been driving people to consider their voting options. Voter safety is paramount, as is ensuring every eligible voter in NSW has a chance to have their voice heard,” NSW Electoral Commissioner John Schmidt said.

“All polling places will be run in line with Covid-safe election guidelines including mask wearing and physical distancing.

“Voters can bring their own pens and must check in using the Service NSW QR codes, and follow any NSW Health advice.”

However, the elections have been a long time coming, originally scheduled for 2020 before being pushed back to September this year and as the Delta variant took hold in NSW, they were moved again.

Applications to enrol in the NSW local elections closed in October, however you can still vote even if your details aren’t up to date.

In NSW, a voting centre in your council area can enrol you if you complete a declaration vote with a valid form of ID.

Across Australia there are different penalties for failing to vote in elections, with Victorians copping the biggest at $80 initially, while South Australia dishes out a $70 fine at first followed by risk of losing your driver’s licence, having wages taken and assets frozen if you fail to pay.

In both Tasmania and Western Australia, the fine is only $20 for failing to vote.

Originally published as Millions of Aussies could be at risk of $120 fine for failing to vote in elections



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