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Federal Election Watch: What happens if you don’t vote?

Federal Election Watch: What happens if you don’t vote?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be aware that tomorrow is when Australia goes to the polls to decide the fate of the federal election. However, what if you’re not a big fan of Bill Shorten, Scott Morrison or any political candidate generally? If you are so inclined, there are a few alternative measures to take. 

You can refuse to vote

As voting is compulsory in Australia, if you opt not to you can expect a call from the Australian Electoral Commission and unless you can come up with what they perceive to be a “valid and sufficient reason”, you’ll cop a $20 fine. So if you want to hang on to your hard earned, just bite the bullet and cast your vote. 

You can cast an informal vote 

If there are issues with your ballot paper, it will not be counted. An informal vote may come about because the ballot is:

  • Blank
  • Fake
  • Reveals your identity
  • Unclear (not filling out enough boxes, leaving a number out etc)

You can ‘donkey vote’

You’ve probably heard the term before but might not understand what it means. Basically, donkey voting is simply numbering all the boxes from top to bottom, often indicative of someone who wants to get in and out of the pilling booth as quickly as possible. However, it is worth noting that donkey votes are formal, so enough of them can actually have an impact. 

Of course, there is another solution that hasn’t been raised; you could simply cast your vote, automatically eliminating the chance of a fine and actively contributing to the democratic process. 

If you’re undecided about who to vote for, our Federal Election Watch blog series covers everything you need to know about how your decision will impact on schools, careers and the tertiary sector

Useful links:

Federal Federal Election Watch: Tertiary