Voice to Parliament referendum: Record 2.6 million Australians did not vote in referendum and will be fined
A record 2.6 million Australians failed to vote in the Voice to Parliament referendum and each of them faces a $20 fine.
The total revenue from fines collected from non-voters could amount to $52 million, which could offset the $400 million it cost Australia to hold the national vote.
Final figures are expected to show that only 85 percent of eligible voters showed up to have their say at one of the country’s 7,000 polling stations on Saturday.
On Monday evening, 60.7 per cent of votes counted answered no to the question of whether the Constitution should be amended to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee to Parliament.
Only 39.3 percent of ballots on the same question were marked Yes.
Just 39.3 percent of votes on whether the Australian Constitution should be amended to include a voice for Indigenous people were marked Yes. Pictured: Shot Yes Picked Up Saturday Night
Final figures are expected to show that only 85 percent of eligible voters in the referendum showed up to have their say on Saturday at one of the country’s 7,000 polling stations.
The referendum result was announced by analysts hours after voting closed, confirming most predictions.
The final number of people who voted, as a percentage of all those registered, is expected to be around 85 percent, meaning there were 2.6 million no-shows.
This would be a record high for turnout in an Australian federal poll, falling below the 89.82% turnout in Anthony Albanese’s May 2022 election.
Only 79.5 percent of registered voters turned out for the postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage. But it was voluntary.
Voting in federal elections and referendums has been compulsory since 1925.
Initially, interest in the Voice referendum was strong.
The number of people registered to vote before the big day was 17.6 million.
This was billed as “the largest registration rate in history” by the Australian Electoral Commission.
“People who do not vote will not only have their say in the referendum, but will also receive a non-voting notice and may have to pay a fine,” the AEC warned.
The No campaign won easily. As of Monday evening, 60.7 percent of the votes counted answered no to the question of whether the Constitution should be amended. Pictured: Jacinta Price, leader of the No campaign
Referendum turnout is expected to reach a record high for turnout in an Australian federal election, falling below the 89.8% turnout in Anthony Albanese’s May 2022 election.
But when Election Day came, after months of bitter divisions and confusion over what a Voice would actually mean, it no longer seemed to matter.
Nearly 15 percent of eligible voters did not exercise their right to express themselves and were deterred by sanctions imposed for not showing up.
The fine for not voting is $20. It has not been increased since its introduction in 1984, 39 years ago.
Anyone who registered to vote by mail can in theory still avoid the fine.
While postal votes should have been completed by 6 p.m. local time on Saturday, the law allows up to 13 days after referendum day for the AEC to receive them.
“Any person who has requested and received their postal vote must complete it and return it to the AEC as soon as possible,” indicates the AEC website.