350,000 asked to ‘please explain’


Jessica Micallef

About 350,000 “please explain” notices will be sent by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) to Victorians who failed to vote in last year’s council elections.

The Apparent Failure to Vote Notice is legislatively required to be sent to those who appeared not to have voted in the 2020 local council elections and provides the opportunity to explain why people didn’t vote.

Voting in council elections was compulsory for all state-enrolled and Melbourne city council-enrolled voters as of August 28 last year.

According to the VEC, the 2020 elections had one of the “healthiest participation rates”, despite about 350,000 Victorians not voting.

Electoral commissioner Warwick Gately said it was important for residents to respond to the notice with a detailed explanation.

“This notice is not a fine. It is your chance to explain why you appear not to have voted,” he said.

“Please complete and send the notice back within the 28-day time frame so that we can consider your explanation.”

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

According to the VEC, 80 per cent of enrolled Hume residents and 83 per cent of enrolled Macedon Ranges residents voted in last year’s election.