As Australians head in their droves to vote in The Voice to Parliament referendum, a conspiracy theory previously dismissed as "nonsense" has again started to gain traction.
A handful of Aussies have voiced their anger over the use of pencils at polling booths, which are handed out to voters. Many concerned pushed the conspiracy theory it would allow for votes to be changed.
"I thought this was supposed to be fair and impartial. What’s with the pencils for voting?" one person asked on Twitter.
"Glad their system is fraud proof," another sarcastically wrote.
There have even been reports some campaigners were handing out pens outside polling booths, while others urged people to bring their own pens. Some have even filmed themselves using a pen to vote no before uploading online to fuel the theory.
— Sᴜɪᴛ Yᴏᴜʀsᴇʟғ 👔 (@YourselfSuit) October 14, 2023
There was push back to the pencil objection, with one person branding those behind the conspiracy theory were "absolute lunatics".
"Amazing how many people suddenly have issue with pencils being used when it’s literally never been an issue in how many elections/referendums across the country for how long?" they said.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) clearly states on its official guide to the referendum that Australians can "use your own pen if you want to".
AEC boss lashes out at 'nutty' theory
AEC Commissioner Tom Rogers rubbished the conspiracy theory earlier this week.
"This thing about pens and pencils and a range of other conspiracy theories, frankly, it’s like conspiracy theory bingo at every election. You tick it off as it occurs.
“I can assure everyone that votes are treated with the utmost respect. We treat them like a democratic blank check that we cash on behalf of all Australians. There are scrutineers there whenever votes are being handled.
“If anyone thinks we’ve got time to do that with something like over 17 million electors, frankly, come and work for us and you’ll see what happens. It’s just nonsense.”
He said it was one of a host of "nutty" theories and urged voters to go to the AEC website of ask a member at the booths for clarity on any issues.
Last month there was anger over the rule which rules out votes where crosses are used, however ticks would be accepted as a yes. Opposition leader Peter Dutton called it "completely outrageous".
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