28 July 2020

ACT Electoral Commission targets disinformation ahead of October election

| Dominic Giannini
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Election corflutes

The ACT Electoral Commission has launched a new campaign to target false and misleading information ahead of the October election. Photo: File.

With just over 80 days until the ACT election on Saturday, 17 October, the ACT Electoral Commission (ACTEC) has launched a new campaign to target disinformation and fake news.

The new Check the Source campaign is encouraging Territorians to appropriately inform themselves ahead of casting their vote just weeks after a number of misleading and false claims circulated around the recent Eden-Monaro election.

“Social media and online websites can be a quick and effective channel to spread electoral material. It is therefore very important that you check the source and review whether it can be considered reliable, current and safe,” ACT Electoral Commissioner Damian Cantwell said.

“The ACT Electoral Commission does not have a role in checking the truth of electoral communication. Most electoral communications are required to be authorised to help you recognise the source of that information. This usually means either printing an authorisation statement on the material, or otherwise clearly identifying who has authored the material.”

SEE ALSO Can truth in political advertising be legislated before October’s election?

There were 132 complaints made relating to a party and a candidate’s activity at the 2016 ACT Election, up from 110 in 2012 and 105 in 2008. The majority of these complaints related to canvassing within 100-metres of a polling place and incorrect authorisation of advertisements.

However, none needed to be recommended to the Australian Federal Police for prosecution, the ACTEC said.

“All reported cases of unauthorised electoral matter are addressed in the first instance with a request to cease distribution of unauthorised matter and to ensure the matter is correctly authorised,” the 2016 election review found.

Further information on how to Check the Source, visit ACTEC.

ACT Electoral Commissioner Damian Cantwell

ACT Electoral Commissioner Damian Cantwell says it is important that residents are able to cast an informed vote this election. Photo: ACT Legislative Assembly Twitter.

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Capital Retro1:21 pm 29 Jul 20

But “vote early, vote often” multiple voting, made possible by no requirement for photo ID, is still rife and apparently condoned.

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