FAILING to vote was a costly choice four Gympie region drivers didn't know they had made until they were charged with driving unlicensed recently.
The separate cases heard in Gympie Magistrates Court on Thursday were a result of unpaid SPER fines, incurred by failing to vote in last year's mayoral election.
Curra man Scott William Sumner, 42, who was charged with driving unlicensed on Tin Can Bay Rd on December 6, said he had not received a notice alerting him to a fine for failing to vote.
The unpaid fine resulted in an unpaid SPER debt and finally a licence disqualification, the court heard.
Mr Sumner had his case adjourned to allow conferencing time with police.
"This mayoral election was a debacle," Magistrate M. Baldwin declared when she had a third driver approach the bench for the same reason.
"I'm just about sick of these mayoral elections - half the people didn't vote because no one knew what was going on," she said.
"I was away - I didn't vote either," she admitted.
"Well you better not drive home," a member of the public gallery quipped.
Nearly one in three Gympie region electors faced fines for not voting in the region's first all-postal election last year in a new system that few understood was compounded by an overlap with the state election.
Timothy Keith Keddie, 28, of Gympie, drove unlicensed on Mary Valley Rd on December 21. Unpaid toll and failing to vote fines had resulted in his disqualification, which he said he was unaware of. He was disqualified from driving for one month and fined $220.
Veteran woman Cassandra Trudy Fuz, 43, admitted to failing to vote more than once but did not realise unpaid fines resulted in a loss of licence.
"I've never driven unlicensed before - that's not something I'd do," she told the court.
The driver was fined $220 and disqualified for one month.