'Embarrassing': Worry as Gladstone voters 'incorrectly' fined

GLADSTONE residents have received incorrect failure to vote fines from the March elections in what has been a state-wide blunder by the Electoral Commission Queensland.

The commission has confirmed "tens of thousands" of people have been incorrectly charged $58.50 in what they said was an "embarrassing" mistake.

ECQ Assistant Commissioner Dermot Tiernan said the incorrect fines had been sent state wide but hadn't affected all voters.

On The Observer's Facebook page, Rylee Prindable said, "Yep I got one too... and didn't even live in the area I was apparently meant to vote".

FINE: A copy of the ECQ fine incorrectly issued.
FINE: A copy of the ECQ fine incorrectly issued. Sophie Meixner


Other commenters said they too had received the incorrect fine.

Gladstone Regional Council had 40,522 people enrolled to vote in 2016.

But the March 19 election recorded 33,078 votes leaving an apparent shortfall of over 7000.

There were 29,590 formal votes and 3488 informal votes.

The Sunshine Coast Daily reported Mr Tiernan said he believed they were now "on top" of the matter, and had identified almost all of the recipients of incorrect fines with apology letters advising not to worry about the fines also being sent out.

"There's no impact on the integrity of the result," he assured.

APOLOGY: A copy of the ECQ apology letter sent to voters incorrectly fined was posted on Facebook.
APOLOGY: A copy of the ECQ apology letter sent to voters incorrectly fined was posted on Facebook. Facebook

The Failure to Vote notice is an opportunity to provide an explanation regarding personal circumstances on polling day as to why people may not have been able to vote. 

If electors have a valid reason for not voting, they must reply in writing on the form included with the notice, and return it to the commission.

For more information visit www.ecq.qld.gov.au or call 1300 881 665.



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