Chris Minns was named premier following the vote on March 25
Chris Minns became premier following the NSW election on March 25. (James Gourley/AAP IMAGES)

Size matters in barmy ballot claim debunk

Lachlan Coady March 29, 2023

A NSW Electoral Commission official was caught rubbing out votes on a ballot paper.


False. The official was completing internal administrative forms.

A video of an official completing administrative work is being shared online as part of an effort to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the NSW election.

Among the assertions is the claim that the man is caught using an eraser to alter ballot papers.

The claim is false.

The NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) official was attending to administration duties, notably filling in an internal tally sheet.

Analysis of the footage confirms the man is not altering a ballot paper given the size and/or colour of the document differs greatly from the ballots used for the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly.

The election fraud claim has spread across social media.
 The NSW election fraud claim has spread across social media. 

The video is thought to have been recorded at a early voting centre in Sydney’s southwest and has appeared across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – see examples here, here and here.

Analysis of the footage proves the claim is false.

The Legislative Assembly ballot paper used at the voting centre can be seen on the table throughout the video, in the bottom left of the shot (see image below). An example of a Legislative Assembly ballot can also be found on the NSWEC website – albeit in black and white. Both these examples show the narrow dimensions of the ballot paper.

Both ballots are visible on the table at the front of shot.
 Both ballots are visible on the table in the video. 

The document that the man appears to erase something from does feature the same orange stripe as the ballot paper. However,  the dimensions are markedly different.

At the five-second mark in the video (see image below), the man moves his hand across the paper, revealing the document’s width.

The document also cannot be a Legislative Council ballot paper.

A copy of the Legislative Council ballot can also be seen on the table in the video. A version (in black and white) can be seen here.

The width of the tally sheet is visible at the five-second mark
 The width of the tally sheet is visible at the five-second mark. 

As well as being a completely different size, the NSWEC confirmed it is printed on light blue paper, without any orange markings.

A representative of NSWEC described the claims as misinformation, telling AAP FactCheck the man was instead completing a “tally sheet”.

“This was not a ballot paper,” the representative said via email. “This official was filmed without permission working at an early voting centre completing internal administrative paperwork.”

The Verdict

The claim that a NSW Electoral Commission official was caught rubbing out votes on a ballot paper is false.

Analysis of the video reveals the document the man is attending to is different in size and/or colour to ballots for the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

The NSWEC told AAP FactCheck the official was completing an internal tally sheet.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

* AAP FactCheck is an accredited member of the International Fact-Checking Network. To keep up with our latest fact checks, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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