Low­est vot­ing num­bers ever

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

MORE than 20 per cent of en­rolled vot­ers in Le­ich­hardt did not vote in last week­end’s elec­tion and 5.9 per cent of votes were in­for­mal.

In the past three years since the pre­vi­ous fed­eral elec­tion, the num­ber of en­rolled vot­ers in Le­ich­hardt has in­creased by 6000 peo­ple but the turn out of vot­ers in last week’s elec­tion was only 79.61 per cent.

The Aus­tralian Elec­toral Com- mis­sion said it is too early to spec­u­late on the num­ber of non­vot­ers, as postal votes can still be re­ceived 13 days af­ter the elec­tion - as long as they were sent by 6pm Septem­ber 7.

AEC Queens­land me­dia spokes­woman Caro­line D’Al­lura said votes from some polling booths had yet to be re­turned as well.

‘‘ The fig­ure will def­i­nitely change over the next week or so as votes get counted and once con­firmed peo­ple who haven’t voted will get sent a let­ter and if they don’t have a valid or suf­fi­cient rea­son as to why they didn’t vote they will be asked to pay a $20 fine,’’ she said.

‘‘If they choose not to pay they can go to court and can pay up to $170 just for not vot­ing.’’

The num­ber of in­for­mals has also in­creased since the pre­vi­ous elec­tion in 2010, de­spite the AEC run­ning a cam­paign to en­cour­age peo­ple to en­rol and vote.

‘‘We have a very large cam­paign to get peo­ple on the elec­toral roll and then cast­ing a valid vote. The AEC goes to great lengths to try to get ev­ery­one in­volved,’’ Ms D’Al­lura said.

‘‘ In­for­mal votes are some­thing we look into af­ter the elec­tion and put strate­gies in place to try and coun­ter­act peo­ple.’’

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