Vocal referendum: Yes campaign accused of dirty tricks after voters spot VERY confusing details outside polling center
The Yes23 campaign has been accused of exploiting dirty tricks outside early voting centers by using signs almost identically colored to those of the Australian Electoral Commission.
Early voting for the Voice referendum began on Monday in the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia, ahead of the October 14 poll.
One photo, taken Monday morning outside a polling booth at the Mildura Senior Citizens Club in Victoria, showed an official purple “voting center” sign sandwiched between two “Vote Yes” signs using the same purple color and white lettering.
“I guess these colors are just a coincidence!” posted Bruce, who took the photo, on X, formerly known as Twitter.
His image sparked a wave of criticism, with many accusing the Yes23 campaign of using dirty tricks to confuse voters.
A photo, taken Monday morning outside a Mildura Senior Citizens Club early voting center in Victoria, showed a purple “voting center” sign sandwiched between two “Vote Yes” signs using almost identical purple coloring and the same white letters.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) released a lengthy statement on Monday evening revealing it had asked the Yes23 campaign to remove its signage which it said “could potentially mislead voters about the source of a campaign message “.
“This combination of use of purple and white colors near AEC signage could mislead a voter about the source of the signage and, by extension, the source of the message on the signage,” the statement said.
“As a result, when we were alerted to this signage, the AEC requested the Yes23 campaign to rectify the situation by ensuring that its signs were not placed near AEC voting center signs. “
The AEC said the Yes23 campaign complied with this request.
However, the AEC admitted that it had no “legal authority to stop people using particular colors – although it “made it clear” that their preference was for campaigners not to use the purple and white.
In fact, the AEC does not have the legal authority to remove any sign located more than six meters from the entrance to a voting booth.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) released a lengthy statement on Monday evening revealing it had asked the Yes23 campaign to remove its signage which it said “could potentially mislead voters about the source of a campaign message » (photo: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a Yes23 campaign event)
This means it is likely that the Yes23 campaign will be allowed to keep their purple and white signs, but will simply have to move them six meters away from the official AEC signs.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Yes23 campaign for comment.
This is not the first time that activists’ use of the colors purple and white has sparked controversy.
In 2019, the Court of Disputed Returns found that Liberal Party campaign signs written in Chinese in Melbourne’s Chisholm and Kooyong divisions were likely to mislead or deceive voters.
The court ultimately ruled that the signs did not have sufficient influence to affect the final election results.
Early voting centers will open in other states and territories on Tuesday.
Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said voters should plan ahead if they cannot vote in person on October 14.
“Federal referendums are in-person events, just like elections. This is the first time the country has come together in nearly a quarter century to have its say on potential constitutional change.” » said Mr. Rogers.
“If you can vote on October 14, then that’s what you should do.
“However, if your circumstances may prevent you from doing so, then you should consider the early voting options available and vote based on your circumstances.
“Remember, voting is mandatory for all registered Australians.”
For a complete list of early voting center locations, days and hours of operation, visit AEC website.