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The excuses that get you out of paying election fine

As Australians are called on to vote today in the Federal Election, many may find themselves unable to physically get to a polling booth for various reasons.

Unless you have a "valid and sufficient reason for failing to vote", you will face a fine for not voting.

What are valid excuses for not voting today?

Voting was made compulsory in Australia for people aged over 18 almost 100 years ago in 1924.

According to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) website, the best excuse for not voting today is if you were intending to vote and were physically impeded or prevented in some way.

Volunteers hand out voting information leaflets to people as they arrive at a voting centre.
If you can't physically get to a polling booth today, you need to have a good reason or you'll be fined. Source: Getty. (Mark Kolbe via Getty Images)

This can include if you were prevented from voting by "sickness or outside prevention, or of natural events, or accident of any kind.

"[That] would certainly be recognised by law in such a case."

The ALRC also states that other valid excuses can include circumstances where a person on their way to a polling booth was diverted in some way to save life, to prevent a crime or assist in an emergency such as a fire or medical incident.

You can also get out of a fine if you were overseas at the time and unable to vote through the other options available if you can’t get to a booth today.

If you test positive for Covid before you're able to get to a polling booth, you can register for phone voting here.

The AEC has registered 17.2 million voters for the 2022 Federal Election compared to 16.4 million in 2019. In that year 92 percent of that number turned up at the polls to cast their vote.

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