Another fraud issue has been raised in the controversial postal vote plebiscite for marriage equality, with voting forms being offered for sale on online auction site eBay for up to $1,500 apiece.
ABC News have reported that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have referred instances of people selling their votes online to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for investigation.
It’s an issue that appears to have blindsided the ABS, with deputy statistician Jonathan Palmer telling the ABC that the ABS does not currently have a policy on how to handle such matters.
“In our original risk register there were some risks that required us to work well with the AFP and we’ve done some of that in risks relating to cyber security,” Palmer said
“But this particular line of fraudulent activity is not one that we, in our mitigation strategies, identified a need to liaise with the AFP earlier, so we are doing it now.”
He also said that they have had “excellent cooperation” from sites such as eBay and Gumtree promptly removing any votes for sale.
This isn’t the first fraud concern the postal vote has raised, with a social media user showing last week how easy it is to see a vote within a sealed envelope.
Using just a torch, the user showed that when light is held against the envelope, it is disturbingly easy to read the vote that is contained inside, leading to fears that anyone with access could simply remove any votes that don’t fit with their agenda.
There have also been concerns over people voting multiple times when they’ve received ballots for previous occupants who haven’t updated their details with the electoral commission.
“Big ups to the seven people that haven’t changed their enrolment info and their vote mail came to my house. My vote just evolved seven times hahaha,” one man tweeted.
“I get SO much mail for previous people who lived in my house. Every damn one of these is being opened and sent back as yes,” wrote another.
This lead to the ABS warning that theft or tampering with mail is a criminal offence which carries serious penalties.
Examining the contents of mail by someone who is not approved to do so is punishable by up to two years in jail.