City of Greater Bendigo vote fines disputed

THE Victorian Electorate Commission is not receiving an abnormally large amount of City of Greater Bendigo residents disputing apparent failure to vote notices, a VEC spokeswoman says.

Confused residents have called the Bendigo Advertiser saying they voted in last November’s election but recently received a letter saying they did not.

But a VEC spokeswoman said the number was not noticeably high in the municipality.

“Although it’s being reported in the media in your area that there are ‘high’ numbers in Bendigo, our call centre is not reporting any increase in numbers for Bendigo – or anywhere else for that matter,” she said.

She said anyone who received an apparent failure to vote notice had the right to respond in writing by replying on the form provided and sending it back to the VEC within 28 days.

“Everyone who receives a letter should make their explanation where indicated, including the date and location of posting their ballot papers,” she said. 

“We will look for any patterns and if necessary, have discussions with Australia Post.” Failure to respond to the notice or an unsatisfactory explanation will be treated with a $70 fine that must be paid within 42 days.

She said she could not say whether people who argued they had voted and received a notice would receive the fine.

“I can’t say whether the person will be fined or not as this is a matter for another internal department,” she said.

“It will depend on the level of detail the person can provide.”

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