Shining a light on Victoria's democracy!

Friday 2 October 2020

For immediate release

Research recently completed with people who had not voted at the 2018 State election has found that 85% of respondents agree that voting is an important part of the democratic process and two-thirds agree that voting should be compulsory.

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) released the findings from a study of a representative sample of non-voters in the 2018 State election, confirming that 87% of those who didn’t vote were just not available: reasons underpinning this lack of availability were being overseas (42%), work commitments on the day of the election (18%), and being interstate (16%). Reasons related to a lack of knowledge was the next most common theme for not voting (42%), predominantly not knowing when the election was happening (28%) or not knowing that it was happening at all (22%). Of those unwilling to vote (30%), half did not want to choose any candidates due to lack of familiarity or knowledge of the candidate (15%).

The study was conducted by the Social Research Centre (SRC) on behalf of the VEC and surveyed close to 1,000 participants.

“It’s reassuring to know that non-voting is not necessarily about a lack of engagement but more a lack of opportunity and awareness. Given that this month’s council elections will all be conducted by post with photos and statements provided by candidates, and that for the time being travelling is restricted, I hope to see this translate into increased participation,” says Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately AM.

Other initiatives such as a reminder SMS or email on election day (a service already offered by the VEC) and more information about each candidate or party from an independent source, were also considered helpful by many voters.

The full report ‘Understanding non-voters of the 2018 Victorian State election’, including key findings and recommendations is available to download from the VEC website's Publications section

Voters on the State roll can register for free VoterAlert reminders