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Warning: Vote tomorrow or face hefty fines

Lucy Dean
NSW votes. Image: AAP
NSW votes. Image: AAP

After months of campaigning, sledging, pre-polling and promising high-speed trains, the NSW state election is here.

And while it’s still unclear who will become NSW’s next premier out of the Liberal’s Gladys Berejiklian and Labor’s Michael Daley, there’s one thing we do know.

If you don’t vote, you could be hit with a $55 fine.

“If it appears you didn’t vote at an election you were eligible for in New South Wales, we will send you a formal penalty notice in the post,” the NSW Electoral Commission explains on its website.

From there you have 28 days to pay the fine or risk the sum ratcheting up.

If you voted you can challenge the fine by visiting the commission website. You can also challenge the fine if you think you had a sufficient reason for not voting by emailing the commission.

But, warns the commission, “Not knowing that an election was being conducted is not a sufficient reason for the failure to vote at an election.”

Disputing it in court is also an option but you run the risk of the court imposing a greater penalty, and you will likely need to pay court costs.

Or, non-voters can just pay the fine.

It’s interesting to note that the penalty for failing to vote in a NSW election is more than twice the penalty charged in federal elections.

As the Australian Electoral Commission warns, failing to vote in a federal election will incur a $20 penalty.

Voters can find their nearest polling booth here.

Possibly worse than the fine, by failing to vote you also risk missing out on a delicious election sausage sizzle. If you’re unsure if you’re local polling booth is holding a sausage sizzle, you can check here.

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