AEC calls on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok to tackle election lies

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Major platforms have already cooperated with authorities ahead of Election Day and an Election Integrity Assurance Task Force will coordinate responses in 2022, bringing together police, intelligence and security services.

The AEC is already more active in responding to incorrect online claims and conspiracy theories about how the electoral system works, seeking to avoid reputational damage to electoral authorities abroad.

Mr Rogers said he was concerned about the “broad ecosystem” online and was determined to maintain the community’s trust in the AEC’s independent and apolitical stance.

TikTok wrote to major political parties in late 2021 warning them against any move to advertise on its platform, including through paid mentions by influencers.

Anticipating a varied overlay of COVID-19 in the poll due before the end of May, the AEC boss said a special virus variant response unit was working to prepare for a range of scenarios. He said voters would have confidence that they could vote safely in 2022.

The AEC has been tracking local government elections and national polls abroad to assess COVID-safe voting systems and is working with Melbourne’s Deakin University on systems to speed up passage through polling stations.

“I think Australians really don’t like queuing. Not just the dislike, there’s a visceral hatred. It’s about 15 minutes before people start complaining,” Mr Rogers said .

“If you look at the people abroad who wait for many, many hours relatively patiently. We are doing our best to manage this in a very complex environment.

Early voting is also expected to increase again in 2022.

Mr Rogers said more votes by mail were expected and the AEC was working to implement changes to the early voting rules.

In-person early voting will be limited to 12 days, triggered by recommended changes after the 2019 election. Early voting will open on the Monday of the week before Election Day.

A record 4.76 million early votes and around 1.5 million mail-in votes were cast ahead of the May 2019 ballot. A total of 41% of voters cast their ballot in advance, compared to 31% during of the 2016 elections.

Parties and candidates are increasingly organizing their campaign activities to target voters during the first weeks of the campaign, rather than throughout the entire election period.

The law allows early voting when people are away from their electorate on Election Day, if they are at work, or for religious or medical reasons.

The Morrison government has scrapped controversial plans to require voters to show ID at the polls before Parliament rises for the Christmas recess.

“We are preparing to ensure that citizens understand that it will be safe to enter and vote by whichever mode they choose, that we will have all the measures in place to ensure that it is safe and secure” , said Mr. Rogers.

Most complex logistics event

He said the federal election is Australia’s most complex peacetime logistical event.

“We are given a few weeks notice and we have to build a workforce of 100,000 people, train them and erase the character of almost 40,000 of them.

“We’re printing nearly 60 million ballots and finding 8,000 polling places and coordinating the logistics behind that.”

Parliament passed new laws requiring security risk assessments of computerized systems used to monitor votes, as well as independent assessments of the accuracy of vote counting software.

To be registered by the Australian Electoral Commission, minor parties will need to have one elected member of parliament or at least 1,500 grassroots members, up from the previous threshold of 500.

Rules for disclosing political campaign donations and support by third parties have also been tightened, prompting Mr Rogers to encourage new candidates and independent candidates to seek help navigating the complex systems of rules. and regulations.

Rules for authorizing political messages, requiring the source to be clearly identified, remain a common area of ​​difficulty.

“When in doubt, allow messages,” Mr. Rogers said.

“For many of these groups, this will be their first reshuffle against the electoral system. We have a wealth of information on our website and I urge anyone considering running to jump on it and read the information for candidates, parties.

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