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No time to vote – I’m having sex!

A woman claimed she was having group sex with 30 men in Nimbin, NSW, and could not get to a polling booth in Queensland on time to vote. That is the all-time best excuse, according to electoral commissioner Bob Longland.

Hundreds of people have already contacted the Electoral Commission of Queensland offering reasons for their no-show as 2.2 million others voted in the February 7 state poll.

“You could have walked across Moreton Bay for all the broken-down fishing boats,” Mr Longland said.

The most common excuse was illness, closely followed by cars, boats and planes with kaput engines.

“We get all manner of excuses . . . most are genuine,” he said.

Of the 200,000 letters that will be sent to non-voters in May, about 25,000 people end up paying the $37.50 fine because they do not have a legitimate reason.

“Some cop it sweet and say, ‘You got me’ – they send in a cheque straight away,” he said.

Others are asked to elaborate.

“We don’t accept it if they just say they were sick. It depends on the nature of the illness.”

Some people had the ultimate excuse: they were dead.

“Very occasionally, and very embarrassingly, these letters slip through. We get some poor grieving relative saying dear old Charlie died and now you are pinging him for not voting.”

Mr Longland said staff kept a close check on death notices filed with the Australian Electoral Commission.

He said there were very few serial non-voters, but that would be tested with the local government poll so close, on March 27.

Letters would go out once that election had been finalised.

Mr Longland said the ECQ collected more than $1 million from non-voters at each election and that went to Treasury.

“It would be nice if I was on a commission,” he said.


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