MORE than 8000 south-west residents will have to explain why they didn’t vote at last year’s local government elections.
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has posted “please explain” letters to 8188 people listed as failing to participate in the compulsory postal voting process.
This represents almost 10 per cent of the total 95,128 enrolled voters across the region and is slightly higher than for the 2008 elections.
Recipients have 28 days from receiving the letter to reply with an explanation or face a $70 fine.
“Ignore the letter at your peril,” a VEC spokeswoman told The Standard yesterday.
“If people have a valid explanation they will not hear from us again, but if they ignore the notice or fail to give a valid excuse they will be issued with a $70 penalty.
“And then if they don’t pay in the required time they will receive a reminder notice plus costs and if they further ignore it they will be taken to court.”
Letters went out to Corangamite, Glenelg and Colac Otway shires last week and will be mailed to Warrnambool City, Moyne and Southern Grampians shires this week.
Warrnambool City Council revenue and property manager Glendon Dickinson said people over 70 years old and non-residents on the roll were not required to vote.
“The VEC does not send apparent-failure-to-vote notices to persons who have an automatic exemption under the legislation,” he said.
In Warrnambool City 2222 people will receive letters (18.4 per cent of the 25,133 enrolled voters), 1709 in Glenelg Shire (25.8% of 16,811), 1475 in Colac Otway (21.83% of 19,799), 1071 in Moyne (20.25% of 14,108), 993 in Southern Grampians (18.35% of 13,406) and 718 in Corangamite (20.72% of 5870).
This compares with the post-2008 elections figures of 1916 for Warrnambool City, 1277 Glenelg, 943 Colac Otway, 647 Moyne, 651 Southern Grampians and 530 Corangamite.