Some Australians voting on gay marriage were in for a shock when they received their postal vote in the mail.
Under the barcode there is a randomly selected series of letters and numbers but as you will see from Jess Wheeler’s tweet below, the letters ‘BUMSEX’ appeared among the characters.
His caption ‘I don’t think you guys are taking this thing seriously’ couldn’t be more appropriate, but the same can’t be said for the mistake.
— Jess Wheeler (@wheelswordsmith) September 16, 2017
Up to 15 million people are voting on whether or not to allow same-sex couples to get married.
The result won’t be known until mid-November and it’s non-binding.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, Jonathan Palmer, deputy statistician for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, apologised for the error saying:
The ABS acknowledges that in issuing 16 million barcodes it did not check and remove words and phrases that may be offensive.
The ABS apologises to the survey recipient and will issues a new form if requested.
The codes were issued using an algorithm generating more than two quintillion combinations of letters and numbers in order to generate highly secure barcodes.
The ABS will check newly issues barcodes.
— Jack Morphet (@JackMorphet) September 16, 2017
Palmer also urged Australians not to compromise their privacy and security of their response by publicly displaying the barcode.
But seriously, ‘BUMSEX’. That can’t have been random!
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.