The Victorian Electoral Commission has released the following notice for SHS workers:
Victorians who did not vote in the 2018 State election last November may receive an Apparent Failure to Vote Notice next week asking for an explanation.
Homelessness, incarceration or serious mental illness are sufficient reasons for not voting.
If any of your clients receive this notice they need to respond within 28 days or risk an infringement notice being sent to them.
You can assist your client by responding on their behalf. Include as much detail as possible.
Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately AM, stressed that this notice is not a fine or penalty.
‘An Apparent Failure to Vote Notice is not a fine – it’s a chance to explain why you appear not to have voted,’ Mr Gately said.
‘If you ignore the notice, you are much more likely to receive an infringement notice.’
The fine for failing to vote is $81. Infringement notices will be sent out from May 2019.
For future elections, people experiencing homelessness can enrol to vote using a ‘no fixed address’ enrolment form. This means they won’t be fined if they can’t vote due to their housing situation.
To raise awareness of enrolment and voting options for people experiencing homelessness and reduce the incidence of non-voting, the VEC’s electoral outreach team can visit community organisations to run information sessions for community practitioners or enrolment sessions for clients.