The Voice: Yes campaign pinged by AEC for ‘misleading’ signs

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The Yes23 campaign for an Aboriginal Voice to Parliament has been pinged by the AEC for putting up official-looking signs at polling places that could be “potentially misleading” as part of what the No campaign has called a “cynical ploy” to sway votes.

On Monday, social media users noted that the Yes campaign had placed signs saying “Vote Yes” outside polling places using an official purple normally used by the AEC, and placed nearby AEC signs using a similar colour reading, “Voting Centre.”

A spokesman for Fair Australia said, “Throughout this campaign, Fair Australia has done its best to comply with AEC determinations.”

“We have gone to great lengths to comply with the election umpire’s often unreasonable requests, which have been consistently ignored by Yes23.”

“It is inexcusable for the Yes campaign to put out these clearly misleading signs across NSW after a clear instruction from the AEC.”

“These signs are a cynical ploy by Yes23 to confuse voters and should come down immediately.”

In a statement, the AEC also condemned the signs.

“To be absolutely clear – the signs were erected by the Yes23 campaign, not the AEC.”

“However, the signage prominently used white writing against a background that is a similar shade of purple to the AEC’s longstanding branding and were erected outside at least one early voting centre, in close proximity to the AEC’s ‘voting centre’ signage,” the AEC said in a statement.”

“This combination of using purple and white colours in proximity to AEC signage could mislead a voter about the source of the signage, and by extension, the source of the message on the signage.”

“While AEC officers cannot remove signage that could be misleading regarding the source of the message, we expect our request to the authoriser of the signage to be complied with,” they continued.

The controversy flared Monday as early polls for the upcoming referendum opened in some parts of the country.

On Twitter, online video journalist Rukshan Fernando noted an “almost 100 per cent colour range match” between the official AEC signage and the posters put up by the Yes campaign.

This is not the first time purple signs have caused controversy at polling places.

At the 2019 election, the Liberal Party was taken to court over Chinese language signs endorsing their candidate Gladys Liu in the Victorian seat of Chisholm and then-treasurer Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong over corflutes that were similarly designed to look like official AEC corflutes.

Asked about the controversy Tuesday, a spokesman for the Yes23 campaign said the organisation was “made aware of this by the AEC and will rectify the situation.”

However as of Tuesday morning, purple Yes23 signs were still in place at pre-poll stations in Bowral, in the NSW southern highlands and Nowra on the state’s south coast, and elsewhere in the state, though the Yes campaign indicated they were working to remove the signs. `

Originally published as The Voice: Yes campaign slammed for ‘cynical ploy’ to mislead voters as AEC demands action on signs

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