Thousands of Illawarra voters shun council elections

Low turnout and a high number of informal votes plagued the region.

Low turnout and a high number of informal votes plagued the region.

If the NSW Electoral Commission were to issue a fine for every Wollongong and Shellharbour resident who did cast a vote on Saturday, they would rake in more than $2 million in revenue.

Almost 20 per cent of enrolled voters did not turn up to the polls, according to votes counted on Tuesday afternoon, with 37,000 people failing to get their named checked off.

In contrast, at the last federal election, only about 6 per cent of voters in the three Illawarra electorates didn’t turn up to polling booths.

People who do not have their name marked off can be fined $55.

Informal votes – from those who voted incorrectly or marked their papers wrong on purpose – were also high across both cities.

Shellharbour had the highest level of informal ballots, at 16.3 per cent, followed closely by Wollongong’s southern suburbs (16.09%).

In the northern suburbs, 11.7 per cent of voters cast an informal ballot, while 10.9 per cent cast an informal vote in central Wollongong.

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