NSW election workers 'harassed by conspiracy theorists' in shocking video

The NSW Election Commission said the staffers were simply following procedure.

Shocking footage of NSW Election Commission workers reportedly being harassed and followed by conspiracy theorists while moving boxes of pre-poll ballots is making the rounds online.

In a video reposted on Twitter by United Australia Party leader Craig Kelly, the two men can be seen each carrying a sealed white box of ballot votes to a car parked outside of a polling place in the district of Maitland. A woman behind the camera can be heard repeatedly asking the pair why they are “taking the ballot papers away”, despite the men appearing to follow standard procedure.

NSW election workers carrying the boxes to a car.
Footage shows a woman following the NSW election staffers as they carry sealed boxes of pre-poll ballots to a car. Source: Twitter

When one of the workers replies that he is going to put the boxes in the car and then return to explain, the woman claims what he is doing is “illegal” and “corrupt”. “This is nice and dicey isn’t it,” she says while following them to the vehicle.

“It’s another rigged election is it,” a man who seems to be with the woman adds. The verbal barrage eventually ends after one of the election workers asks the woman if she “knows how elections work” and if she was aware that early ballots are not counted on-site. “You’re wrong,” he says before getting in his car.

Moving election ballot boxes 'usual practice'

The NSW Election Commission (NSWEC) states on its website that it is “usual practice for full ballot boxes to be moved during the early voting period to the election manager’s office, for secure storage when an early voting centre has taken a large amount of votes.”

The NSW election worker stopping to talk to the woman while holding the box.
The NSW Election Commission said the staffers were simply following procedure. Source: Twitter

The relocation of boxes is permitted as long as a series of processes already in place are followed, NSWEC says.

On Friday, an NSWEC spokesperson told Crikey that no fraud had been committed and the staffers were simply following procedure. “This is permitted and there are processes in place to ensure there is a robust audit trail of ballot box movements,” they said.

'Concerned about chain of custody'

United Australia leader Mr Kelly appears to have taken offence to the footage, tweeting that “whatever the excuse, the secure chain of custody of the ballots has been compromised”. “I’m sure there’s a good excuse as to why a block in shorts and a t-shirt is driving off with ballot boxes full of votes in what appears to be his private car,” he said.

Family First candidate Lyle Shelton revealed online that he had written to the NSWEC. “I’m concerned about chain of custody and the ability for proper scrutiny,” he said.

Voting is under way in the NSW election as the major parties' leaders make a desperate last-minute attempt to sway undecided voters. More than 1.5 million people had already cast their ballots when early voting closed on Friday night, representing around 28 per cent of the state's 5.5 million voters.

With AAP

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