ABS confirms razor blades, dirt and glitter in same-sex marriage survey envelopes

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Two bride figurines adorn the top of a wedding cake during an illegal same-sex wedding ceremony in central Melbourne August 1, 2009.
Two bride figurines adorn the top of a wedding cake during an illegal same-sex wedding ceremony in central Melbourne August 1, 2009. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has confirmed that they found razor blades, dirt and glitter in some same-sex marriage survey envelopes. Some complaints of fraud relating to the $122 million postal survey were also brought about.

The objects were found by ABS workers scanning the almost 12 million forms returned. Voters were warned that glitters on survey forms would risk spoiling votes. According to the fourth weekly ABS update, at least 11.9 million people or almost three-quarters of eligible electors had voted.

It comes as the Australian Federal Police confirmed 14 matters related to the survey had been referred to it for investigation. “The AFP has undertaken an evaluation of the matters referred,” a spokeswoman said, according to The West Australian.

Although there were sinister finds, just 0.3 percent of forms have so far been returned blank or invalid. The result will be publicly declared on November 15.

Those responsible with the count have signed confidentiality agreements. This means they are banned from speaking publicly about what’s currently happening with the count.

Response rate by Aussies to the issue has been big, having surpassed that of Brexit, which had a return rate of 72.2 percent. The Irish same-sex marriage referendum had 60 percent.

However, people on the Yes side expressed concern that complacency could tip the result in favour of a No vote. Based on the latest poll, nearly 60 percent of those who had already voted did so with a yes.

A recent Newspoll found that 59 percent of those who had already voted opted in favour of letting gay couples wed, making Yes at 57 percent, including those who had yet to vote but intended to. The new figure was a drop from 63 percent in August.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said she feared the No vote could prevail. She also encouraged voters not to take the poll lead for granted. She said the lead was great news but also supposedly cited the Brexit and Trump’s win.

Meanwhile, Coalition for Marriage told news.com.au they would campaign right up until next month. “Polling revealed so far in this campaign demonstrates a significant shift in support against same sex marriage- this reflects what we are seeing and hearing on the ground, on social media, on talk,” a Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman said. The ABS said all ballots must be in the postal system by Friday.

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