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Didn’t vote on Saturday? Here’s how much you’ll be fined

People arrive at a polling station to cast their votes during general elections to elect its parliament and prime minister in Melbourne, Australia on May 18, 2019. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Saturday’s federal election delivered a shock result, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison retaining the top job and Bill Shorten stepping down as Labor leader.

And as the dust settles on the biggest political day of the year, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) will also turn its eye to non-voters.

More than 20 million ballot papers were counted on election night, with 96.8 per cent of eligible Australians enrolled.

If you didn’t vote, you will likely receive a letter from the AEC asking you to justify your failure to vote.

If you’re unable to provide a reason (lack of faith in democracy, or compulsory voting are not accepted reasons), you will be required to pay the fine as an offence under the Commonwealth Electoral Act.

If you’ve received the notice by mistake, you can provide the AEC with details about how you did vote.

If you were unable to vote, you can also plead your case.

So how much is it?

$20.

But failure to pay the fine can also see the initial $20 penalty ratchet up to $180.

The fine itself may seem small, but failing to pay the fine “will be dealt with by the Court accordingly”, the AEC warned, noting that this can mean community service or a seizure of goods.

The Victorian Electoral Commission recently issued 190,000 $55 fines to Victorian residents who didn’t vote in Victoria’s 2019 state election.

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