Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : April 19, 2017 Edition Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017 - PAGE 5
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Fine mess after
BASS Coast and South Gippsland residents
have been hit with fines totalling more than
$290,000 for failing to vote in the council elec-
tions last year.
But some are disputing the fines, and assert
their votes were lost in the mail.
More than 3200 residents in Bass Coast and
2161 in South Gippsland received apparent
‘failure to vote’ notices in January and Febru-
From this, 1015 Bass Coast residents and
625 from South Gippsland provided valid rea-
sons for not voting.
But now 3731 residents across the two shires
who either didn’t respond or gave an invalid re-
sponse, have each been hit with a $78 fine.
Across the two shires, the fines total
$291,018, just $477 shy of covering South
Gippsland’s councillor’s allowances and super-
annuation for the 2015/16 financial year.
Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) senior
communication officer, Lawson Fletcher, said
the commission’s advice to people is to respond
to the infringement notice, especially if people
didn’t reply to the first notice.
“Before sending infringement notices, we
send an apparent failure to vote notice giving
recipients a chance to explain why it appears
they didn’t vote.
“The vast majority of infringement notices is-
sued have been to people who did not reply to
this initial notice,” he said.
But Korumburra residents claim they did
vote and are frustrated over the postal voting
Korumburra resident, Scott Lawrence, lodged
his and his daughter’s election paperwork but
received a ‘failure to vote’ notice in January.
They both responded saying they did vote.
“Later we both received another letter stating
our reason was not satisfactory and we were
required to pay over $70 each as a fine.”
Mr Lawrence and his daughter Kayley wrote
back to the VEC again, claiming once more they
did lodge their votes.
“We didn’t vote because we have to, but more
because we want a say on who gets in.
“We both have better things to do with our
time and money. This was the first time Kayley
was voting, as she had only recently turned 18.
“This is far from what she expected to have
happen and said she feels like she’s in trouble
with the police,” Mr Lawrence said.
Korumburra resident, Karen Fowles, said she
filled out the election paperwork and posted
“I was surprised to get the original fine in
the mail as we all voted at home together and I
posted them all together.
“How they lost one out of all of them has me
buggered,” she said.
But Ms Fowles hasn’t heard back from the
VEC after she told them she did vote, as long as
any additional letter from the VEC wasn’t also
lost in the mail.
The VEC has offered a helpline for concerned
“If you did vote or believe you had a valid ex-
cuse for not voting, request an internal review
and provide the VEC with as much supporting
information as possible so we can make an in-
dependent assessment of your circumstances.
“Our helpline on 1300 551 575 is also avail-
able to provide you with specific advice.”
Failure to pay the fine within 42 days of the
date of the infringement notice will result in an
additional $22.60 in costs, the VEC says on its
Korumburra residents Kayley and Scott Lawrence have each been fined $78 for not voting
in the South Gippsland council election, something they’re both disputing with the Victo-
rian Electoral Commission. mm061617
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