The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released the form it will send out as part of the Government’s postal survey on marriage equality.
Beneath it are two boxes, one to indicate a Yes vote and one for No.
The forms will be barcoded to prevent fraud or the attempted sale of ballots.
Below the checkboxes, the form lists instructions for ensuring the returned survey form is valid, suggested respondents use a “dark pen” and “mark only one box”.
The instructions also rather emphatically encourage voters to “put that envelope in the mail…today if you can!”
If you make a mistake while completing the form you will be able to contact the ABS for a replacement.
The forms will be accompanied by a reply paid envelope, meaning no stamp is required to return it to the ABS.
The form does not make clear if there needs to be a specific marking in the box that corresponds to your response.
The ABS has stated that there needs to be “a clearly legible mark in either the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box”, which means you can tick or cross the box indicative of your response.
Buzzfeed has also confirmed with the ABS that you could conceivably draw a dick or some other fanciful doodle on your form and have it counted, provided a Yes or No vote is clearly legible.
The ABS website clearly states, however, that “a response may be deemed invalid if both boxes are marked”.
The fine print on the form also states that any postal survey forms received by the ABS after 6pm on November 7 will not be accepted.
It is highly reminiscent of what was originally proposed for the plebiscite before it twice failed to pass the Senate, however that proposed wording asked voters to write “Yes” or “No” in a blank box beneath the identically worded question.
Fairfax has reported that people in remote locations will receive their ballots first, and that all eligible Australians will receive their form by September 25.
This first mail-out constitutes roughly 600,000 of the total number of forms.
The ABS again warned against including anything else in the envelope – including, sadly, glitter – as it may contaminate processing machines and a form invalid.
The result of the postal survey will be announced on November 15.