People who failed to vote in the council elections and the Currumbin by-election in March will avoid a fine and even a warning letter, if it’s their first time missing an election.
A huge number of people skipped polling day amid growing concern about the spread of coronavirus, despite health officials declaring it was safe.
There was a massive 270,000 first-time non-voters at the election.
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Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen concedes the election was held during extraordinary circumstances and first-time non-voters will be spared punishment.
But he says people won’t be able to use COVID-19 as an excuse for not voting in the upcoming state election.
“In recognition of the unprecedented circumstances of delivering the elections during an unfolding global pandemic, first-time non-voters will not be fined or receive a warning from the ECQ,” Mr Vidgen said.
“However, we remind electors that voting is compulsory and, with expanded voting options for the October State general election, concerns over COVID-19 won’t be considered a valid reason for not voting.”
Around 30,000 people who didn’t vote in March will receive a warning letter because it’s not the first time they missed an election.
Another 20,000 repeat offenders will be sent a ‘please explain’ from the Electoral Commission of Queensland.
“If they are unable to provide a valid reason, or do not engage with the ECQ, they will receive a fine.”
Mr Vidgen says preparations are well advanced for October’s state election with the likelihood coronavirus will continue to be a factor.
“The ECQ is using all the lessons from March to ensure a safe and fair general election in October.
“This means voters will be provided with every opportunity to vote while accommodating health requirements.”
Legislation has been passed allowing for extended pre-polling and if necessary, a complete postal election.