In Australia at least, it's a contestable fine. There are legitimate reasons why a person can't get to a polling office on the day.
I think the fine is something like $120 which is still enough to scare the hell out of most people.
If people take issue with the election, the usual method is the donkey vote. Turn up, get your name marked off, and eventually put blank ballot papers in the collection box.
I have to say our government integrity is very poor at best, as is any confidence in it. It's mirrored pretty well with the number of donkey votes and the approval rating of both major parties.
The best governmental times we've had in recent memory are when it has destabilised so completely that it has functionally stopped. It's like a 3 year old wearing itself out and having a nap after a massive tantrum, running around smashing everything in sight.