Australia’s Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers has urged Voice campaigners to stop harassing voters outside voting booths while flagging “nutty” conspiracy theories.
To kick off the opening of thousands of polls across the country, Mr Rogers said for the most part voting has been “very orderly” but conceded there had been some bad behavior.
“We’ve had some disappointing activities, particularly outside the polling places and some of our voters have been hassled by some of the campaigners,” Mr Rogers said.
There has been “a whole range” of “nutty” and “bizarre” conspiracies theories circulating online, the election boss said.
He stressed that Australia had one of the most transparent voting systems in the world.
“If you’ve got a question go to our website and ask a member of the AEC and don’t believe some of that nonsense,” Mr Rogers said.
‘We don’t know’: Big queues, massive count ahead
Up to 9.6 million people will walk into polling stations to cast their votes on Saturday. Referendum interest has “sparked” due to heavy media coverage, and big queues are expected to move quickly over the day, according to Mr Rogers.
“We have predicted a big turnout has been a lot of interest in the referendum. Interest is normally spiked when there’s a lot of media coverage, and there’s certainly been a lot of that,” he said.
“We will be watching closely throughout the day.”
About fifty thousand votes from Australians living overseas have been cast, he said.
Friday marked was the biggest single day of pre-polling in Australia‘s history, with just over 1 million votes cast
Voting counting will be “a lot quicker” than a typical election, Mr Rogers.
“People are asking about when we‘ll have the result. The answer is we don’t know. If there is a very large margin, you’ll know the results by this evening.”