Romance no excuse for not voting

IPSWICH residents will be fined $100 if they fail to vote in the coming Ipswich council election unless they have a reasonable excuse.

But be warned, the Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) has told the QT that taking a lover the night before the election and spending 24 hours in a romantic liaison won't qualify as 'reasonable'.

An ECQ spokesman said the organisation had "no discretion to waive fines unless there is a reasonable excuse" and revealed that some excuses were creative to say the least.

"The ECQ sends out 'apparent failure to vote notices' after the election, which will give people the opportunity to lodge an excuse before any final notice is issued," the spokesman said.

"A woman once responded by saying that the night before the election she 'took unto herself a lover'. They became rather enamoured of each other and by the time they surfaced the next day the polling booths had closed and they were unable to vote. We rejected the excuse - perhaps just jealousy on our part."

The $100 fine is reducible to $50 for early payment.

Being fined at all may come as a shock to some who have failed to vote in previous elections without consequences.

"Up until 2008 the elections were run by council rather than the Electoral Commission and generally council didn't take any follow-up action against non-voters," Goodna councillor Paul Tully said.

Cr Tully said he was a fan of compulsory voting.

"If people want to live in a democracy they should be prepared to take part in it," he said.



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