The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has recently confirmed on Twitter that drawing dicks on your ballot paper isn’t just a dumb gag you and your mates threaten to do every election — it is in fact legal, alongside a whole bunch of other wacky shit.
Before we delve too deeply, we should probably say that (warning: big mum energy incoming) even though these things are *technically* legal, we should spare a thought for the thousands of vote-counters.
These folks have to witness whatever dumb shit gets written on ballot papers. Imagine you’re Margaret (76, grandmother of three), just sitting there calmly counting the votes on election day and then out of nowhere *BAM* — a paper dong.
Another thing worth noting is that even if you do (please don’t) feel compelled to embellish a dong on your ballot, your votes must be readable. Dicks can’t get in the way of democracy. Don’t vote for one, and don’t use one to obscure your votes.
Anyway, back on topic.
For context, AEC is the organisation that runs Australia’s elections. It’s impartial, meaning it’s not tied to any political party. According to its website, it handles “electoral roll management, efficient delivery of polling services and targeted education and public awareness programs”.
The “targeted education” part of that mission statement manifests as the AEC’s extremely active Twitter account which is constantly replying to Tweets asking questions about voting, elections and, … you guessed it, dicks.
This bizarre trend was recently documented by Julian O’Shea on TikTok. Julian kindly compiled a bunch of AEC Tweet replies for our viewing pleasure.
Can you draw ???? on your ballot paper in an election? Let’s find out.♬ original sound – Julian O’Shea
We’ll begin our analysis by talking about the dicks — obviously.
After a bit of digging, it turns out that not only is this response real, it isn’t even the first time the AEC has addressed the ancient practice of democracy dick-drawing on their Twitter account.
*sigh*— AEC ✏️ (@AusElectoralCom) February 15, 2022
Back in 2013, the AEC subtle responded to a question about whether a correctly marked ballot paper was still legit even if it had a dick drawn on it.
@ahcayley We will still count the vote if it is numbered correctly— AEC ✏️ (@AusElectoralCom) September 4, 2013
Now let’s chat about the Roman Numerals revelation.
Turns out that Tweet is also legit but it might prove a little tricky to action, especially if we vote “below the line” (individually number every single candidate).
This is because the Senate has such a huge number of candidates so you’d need to write in size-three font to fit in all your Roman X’s and I’s.
You can indeed – good luck numbering below the line in the Senate though… pic.twitter.com/HDURDYF1sf— AEC ✏️ (@AusElectoralCom) February 16, 2022
Finally, let’s chat about crayons.
Turns out you can legitimately vote with a crayon that you stole from your younger sibling or let’s be honest, from your own pencil case.
The AEC provides pencils on election day, but as long as your votes are readable – it’s fair game.
Yep – while we of course will supply pencils, voters can bring their own pencil, pen, or even crayon to vote. Just make sure your vote is clearly numbered according to your order of preference. https://t.co/BdRQWmqpaQ— AEC ✏️ (@AusElectoralCom) February 16, 2022
If you’re keen for more, there are a bunch more replies in the comments section of this video published by the AEC which debunks the notion of a “wasted vote”.
It’s like they always say, “come for the gags — stay for the genuinely informative democracy education video”.
People often say preferencing a certain party or candidate first means wasting your vote. That’s not the case!— AEC ✏️ (@AusElectoralCom) February 15, 2022
If your #1 doesn’t get enough votes, your House of Reps vote transfers at its full value. pic.twitter.com/3YXTUYGt7P
While you’re at it, enrol to vote on the AEC’s website here.