Apparent Failure to Vote Notices are now being sent for 2020 local council elections
If you were required to vote in the 2020 local council elections and it appears you did not, you may receive an Apparent Failure to Vote Notice asking you to explain why.
This notice gives you the chance to explain why you did not vote in this election. Do not ignore this notice or you may get a fine of $83.
Read more information below about the steps in the enforcement process and what to do when you get an Apparent Failure to Vote Notice.
Didn't vote at an election?In Australia, if you are enrolled to vote, you must vote in all Federal, State and council elections. If you do not vote, you may get a fine.
Didn’t vote? Voting is compulsory in Australia. This means that if you are enrolled to vote, then you must vote in all Federal, State and local council elections.
The Australian Electoral Commission runs Federal elections and the Victorian Electoral Commission runs state and local council elections.
What happens if you don’t vote in a State or local council election? First, you will get an Apparent Failure to Vote Notice from the Victorian Electoral Commission. This is your opportunity to explain why you didn’t vote. It is not a fine, but it’s important to reply to it. You will have 28 days to respond to this notice.
If you ignore it, or if your excuse for failing to vote is not accepted, you will get an Infringement Notice. This includes a fine. You will have 28 days to pay the fine or take other action, such as requesting a review. You can also apply for a payment plan if you are experiencing financial hardship.
If you ignore the Infringement Notice, you will receive a Penalty Reminder Notice. This includes an additional fee. You can still request a review at this stage, but only if you haven’t already requested one. You’re entitled to one review per election offence.
There is a list of reasons for which you can request a review. If you ignore all the notices, the matter will be referred to Fines Victoria.
After this point, the VEC cannot consider requests for payment plans, payment extensions or internal reviews.
To find out more about what to do if you receive a notice or non-voting fine, call 1300 551 575 or visit vec.vic.gov.au
Step 1: Apparent Failure to Vote Notice
We will send you an Apparent Failure to Vote Notice if it appears you did not vote.
An Apparent Failure to Vote Notice is your opportunity to explain why you didn’t vote.
Step 2: Infringement Notice (a fine)
You will receive an Infringement Notice with a fine if you did not vote and:
- you did not respond to an Apparent Failure to Vote notice
- your excuse for not voting was not considered valid and sufficient.
You have 28 days to pay the fine or take other action.
The fine for not voting is $83.00 for elections held after 1 July 2020.
This amount is indexed at the beginning of every financial year (1 July).
Step 3: Penalty reminder notice
If you do not pay your fine by the due date on the Infringement Notice, or take other action to deal with it, you will be:
- issued with a Penalty Reminder Notice
- required to pay the original fine plus a Penalty Reminder Notice fee of $25.80
- required to pay or take other action by the due date on the Penalty Reminder Notice.
You have 28 days to pay or take other action.
What are my options?
If you receive an Infringement Notice or a Penalty Reminder Notice, you have the following options.
Pay your fine
The notice will contain all the payment options.
You can pay:
- by Post Billpay at any Australia Post outlet
- using BPAY phone or internet banking
Biller code: 120279
Reference number as shown on your infringement notice
- posting a bank cheque or money order to the VEC using the reply-paid number shown on your notice
(include your name, address, phone number and infringement number)
Request a payment plan or extension
If you are having difficulty paying your fine in full and on time, you can apply for a payment plan or payment extension.
We will assess applications on a case-by-case basis. Your application may be assessed based on your:
- outstanding fine amount
- financial status
- payment history
- any hardship that you are experiencing.
You must make a request in writing and include:
- infringement number
- name, address and contact number
- reason for request.
To apply, download an Application for a payment plan form (PDF, 1.2MB)
Complete it and return it by email or post it to the VEC using the reply-paid number shown on your notice.
Call 1300 551 575 if you need more information.
Request an internal review
You can request an internal review if you believe:
- the decision was contrary to law
- there has been a mistake of identity
- you were unaware of the notice and it was not personally given to you*
- you had special or exceptional circumstances.
* If you are applying for a review on the grounds that you were unaware, you must do so within 14 days of becoming aware of the notice.
For more information see Internal reviews and special circumstances
To make a request for a review, download the Application for internal review form (PDF, 738kB)
Complete it and return it by email or post it to the VEC using the reply-paid number on your notice.Call 1300 551 575 if you need more information.
Elect to go to court
You have the right to take your matter to the Magistrates’ Court for it to be determined at a formal hearing. If you elect to go to court, a magistrate will decide the case and any appropriate penalty.
For more information see Going to court
Referral to Fines Victoria
If you do not pay or take action to deal with a Penalty Reminder notice, we will refer your matter to Fines Victoria for further enforcement action.
When a matter is with Fines Victoria, we cannot consider requests for payment plans, payment extensions or internal reviews.
If you are unsure about what to do, or you need more information call 1300 551 575.