I didn't vote
On this page
Sign up for our free election reminder service
After checking your enrolment, you can sign up to our free election reminder service to receive SMS and email reminders about NSW State and local government elections relevant to your enrolled address.
If it appears you didn't vote at an election you were eligible for in New South Wales, and you don't have a valid reason, we will send you an apparent failure to vote notice in the post.
The penalty for not voting in New South Wales is a $55 fine. You must respond within 28 days of the issue date of the notice.
It is important you know about upcoming elections in your area as not knowing about an election is not a valid reason for failing to vote. You can sign up to our free SMS or email election reminder service to receive reminders about upcoming State and local elections and by-elections.
Apparent failure to vote notices
The Apparent failure to vote notice process for each election will commence within three months of election day.
If it appears you didn't vote at an election you were eligible for in New South Wales, we will send you a formal Apparent failure to vote notice in the post asking you to provide a reason why you did not vote or to pay a penalty. Penalty payments are paid to the NSW Treasury and not retained by NSW Electoral Commission.
You must respond within 28 days of the issue date of the notice. If you do not reply within 28 days, we will send you a reminder notice before referring the matter to Revenue NSW for further action. There will be an additional $65 fee if this matter does get referred to Revenue NSW.
Referral may then result in a penalty notice enforcement order against you and lead to the cancellation or suspension of your driver licence, or the cancellation of your car registration.
What are my options?
You have four options:
If you voted, you can provide details of where and when using our non-voter self-service portal.
If you did not vote, you can pay the fine using our non-voter self-service portal.
If you did not vote and you think you have a sufficient reason, you can tell us in writing. Please note: we cannot excuse you for not voting over the phone, and we cannot accept visitors in person to our office for this purpose.
If you want to dispute the matter, you can apply to have it heard in court. (A court may impose a penalty for an offence of failing to vote of $110 plus court costs.)
If you do not reply within 28 days, we will send you one reminder notice to respond, before referring the matter to Revenue NSW for further action.
There will be an additional fee of up to $65 if the matter is referred to Revenue NSW.
How can I pay?
Pay online, over the phone, with BPAY, or by cheque or money order. See below for details.
What is a sufficient reason for failing to vote?
If you believe you should be excused from not voting in an election, you will need to write to us or use the non-voter self-service portal.
Please refer to your formal penalty notice for instructions on writing to us or logging into the portal.
If you do ask to be excused, you must provide a brief and honest explanation for why you were unable to vote.
The Electoral Commissioner or their delegate will then decide whether you have provided a sufficient reason for your failure to vote. Section 259(9) of the Electoral Act 2017 and section 314(6) of the Local Government Act 1993 lists what is a “sufficient reason” for failing to vote in a state or local government election.
Not knowing that an election was being conducted is not a sufficient reason for the failure to vote at an election.
If you are unsure about what to do or need more information, please contact us on 1300 135 736.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment, please contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS). Choose your access option and ask for 1300 135 736.