MIX-UP: Local residents have received a letter from the ECQ warning them they must vote in the next election or risk being fined.
MIX-UP: Local residents have received a letter from the ECQ warning them they must vote in the next election or risk being fined. Melanie Keyte

Questions raised over voting mix-up

THE Electoral Commission Queensland has defended a letter to electors it sent questioning whether some voters who cast their ballot in the November 2017 state election had in fact voted.

Lowood resident Janette Atkinson and her nephew were among those who received a letter from the ECQ warning them they must vote in the next election or risk being fined.

"Did you vote in the 2017 State Election?" the letter, dated 20 June 2018, asks in bold red type.

"Our records indicate that you may not have voted in the State Election held on 25 November 2017.

"Voting is compulsory and penalties exist for failing to vote without good reason."

Ms Atkinson, 63, said she had never missed an election since she became eligible 45 years ago.

"I like to have my say at the elections," she said.

"I don't like to miss out."

Asked why the mix-up had taken place, a Commission media officer denied there had been any error.

The letters were "a reminder that voting is compulsory," Acting Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said in a written statement to The Gatton Star on June 27.

"A reminder that voting is compulsory was sent to Queensland electors who, for the first time in their voting history, appeared not to have cast a ballot at the State election during post-election checks," he said.

Ms Atkinson said she found it "staggering" that the ECQ's records could show she might not have voted.

"How can you prove that you did vote? It's impossible," she said.

The Lockyer electorate included 33,559 enrolled electors at the close of roll for the 2017 State Election, 90% of whom had voted, the ECQ statement said.

"Less than half-a-percent of the people who were contacted say they did vote, which is a very small amount, and we're happy to note their details and as the reminder says no fines have been issued," Mr Vidgen said.

"People can also be assured that if they marked their ballot paper according to the instructions and put it in the ballot box, then their vote was counted."