An Australian living overseas has revealed he was able to vote twice in the same-sex marriage postal survey thanks to a glitch.
James West, 35, formerly of Sydney, works as a journalist in New York and registered to vote in the plebiscite online from overseas.
He received a ‘secure access code’ allowing him to cast his vote, but at the same time received a letter in the post addressed to him with a different code.
James West, formerly of Sydney, (pictured) works as a journalist in New York and registered to vote in the plebiscite online from overseas
Mr West told Daily Mail Australia being assigned two different codes immediately threw up a red flag.
‘Like most Australians I was keen to vote as quickly as I could. There’s been a lot of publicity for Australians overseas being able to log in and vote online.’
After registering to vote online he was sent a letter from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on September 25.
‘The letter looks like the marriage survey form, but instead of the question there was a different code.’
He was concerned about what his experience meant for the integrity of the online voting system.
Mr West said he was able to vote using both codes.
‘It validated my second code and told me I had voted twice.’
He got in touch with the ABS, and after a ‘sizeable back and forth’ was told that the bureau would ‘clean this mess up later’, and assured Mr West he had not voted twice.
‘I asked them to reconcile my vote.’
He was also given a confusing explanation as to which one of his two votes would count.
He was concerned about what his experience meant for the integrity of the online voting system
At first he was told it would be the initial vote he had cast, but then the ABS said it would be the code that was generated most recently – in this case the one that he applied for online.
Mr West said the multiple-vote experience raised two ‘major issues’, and believes there should be more transparency about the process.
‘If I’ve generated two codes, there’s a system that maps codes to my individual data. Let’s have some more information about that.’
He also questioned whether the ABS was equipped to pull off the plebiscite.
‘We really don’t know much about what kind of software system they’re using when they talk about duplicate votes.
‘Voting is all about trust.’
He said he hadn’t heard of any other ex-pats having similar experiences.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Australian Bureau of Statistics for comment.