Didn't vote in the election? Please explain

Monday 8 February 2021

For immediate release

Following one of the healthiest participation rates ever in local council elections in October 2020, around 350,000 ‘please explain’ notices will be sent to Victorians over the next couple of days. This figure is around 40% lower than the number of notices sent out in 2016.

The Apparent Failure to Vote Notice is legislatively required to be sent to those who appear not to have voted in the 2020 local council elections and provides an opportunity to explain what has happened. Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately, stressed the importance of recipients responding with a detailed explanation and asked that the notice is not ignored.

‘This notice is not a fine – it’s your chance to explain why you appear not to have voted, if this is the case. This is a question that must be asked of those who appear not to have voted,’ Mr Gately said.

‘Please complete and send the notice back within the 28-day timeframe so that we can consider your explanation.’

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) may then send an infringement notice and a penalty of $83 to anyone who does not respond or fails to provide a sufficient reason for not voting within the 28 days.

Voting in the 2020 local council elections was compulsory for all State-enrolled and Melbourne City Council-enrolled voters on the roll as at Friday 28 August 2020.

The VEC aimed to make postal voting in the 2020 local council elections as convenient and accessible as possible, with over 4.2 million ballot packs mailed to Victorians at their enrolled address.

The VEC also sent over two million reminders by SMS and email to enrolled voters who had provided contact details. Enrolled Australian citizens who have not provided their contact details can do so at vec.vic.gov.au/voteralert to be reminded to vote in all future State and council electoral events.