About 570,000 people applied for a postal vote for the 2020 Local Government Elections on March 26.
About 570,000 people applied for a postal vote for the 2020 Local Government Elections on March 26.

ELECTIONS: 20,000 non-voters could cop a fine

MONTHS after local council elections held during the first wave of coronavirus restrictions, Electoral Commission Queensland has warned voters who didn't take part they may cop a fine. 

While first-time non-voters are safe, the ECQ today announced that voters who did not take part in March and had previously not voted should expect a letter in the mail. ECQ said up to 30,000 people would be issued a warning letter.

ECQ data showed an estimated 270,000 Queenslanders did not vote for the first time during the March 2020 local government elections. 

The elections were the first in Australia to take place as the country was implementing social distancing, business operating restrictions and border closures. 

Doctors warned vulnerable members of the public at the time that election booths would be a risky environment as social distancing would be hard to maintain. 

At the time of the elections, weddings were limited to five people, pubs and restaurants were closed for all but take-away orders and people across the country were told not to hold parties or gather in groups. 

ECQ said in a statement an estimated 20,000 non-voters had previously not voted and had not engaged with ECQ.

"The approximately 20,000 electors who are repeat non-voters across multiple elections and have made no effort to engage with the ECQ, will be sent an 'apparent failure to vote' notice and be invited to explain their reason for not voting," the statement said.

"If they are unable to provide a valid reason, or do not engage with the ECQ, they will receive a fine."

Queensland now faces a second election under coronavirus restrictions with the state government election due to take place in October.

News Corp Australia

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