The ACT's electoral commission has launched a campaign targeting misinformation and fake news ahead of the territory election, as it ramps up preparations to stage October's ballot amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elections ACT's new "Check the source" campaign will encourage voters to check the origins of electoral material so they can determine if it is authentic, current and safe.
Territory electoral law requires campaign material to carry the name of the person or organisation responsible for producing it.
"It is important that, in the era of rapid and very broad communications, enabled mostly be social media platforms, electors in the ACT can gain access and have information that they should to help them make an informed choice," ACT electoral commissioner Damian Cantwell said.
"They also need to be alert to the potential that the information that they might be receiving is not what they hold it to be."
Mr Cantwell said the campaign was designed to "get ahead" of the alleged misinformation campaigns which have marked elections in Australia and overseas.
The Australian Electoral Commission referred the emails to the Australian Federal Police for investigation, which resulted in a 32-year-old man being charged on the eve of polling day.
Mr Cantwell said that while he wasn't "overly concerned" with the threat misinformation posed to the ACT election, it was appropriate to highlight the risk given the expectation that more campaigning will be done online during the campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am not suggesting this will be a particular campaign tactic or that we are liable or susceptible to such disinformation campaigns by any particular actor," he said.
"What we have done in this campaign is alerted the potential for information that is looking to influence you as you cast your vote ... and ask that you check the source of that information."
Elections ACT remains deep in preparation for the October election, which will run differently due to the ongoing pandemic.
All eligible voters will be able to vote from September 28 until October 17, in a move designed to reduce the number of people casting their ballot at any one location at the same time. Some 15 polling stations will be set up, and open for extended hours, during the pre-poll period.
Mr Cantwell said a number of precautions would be taken at each of the polling stations, including strict and regular cleaning, enforcement of social distancing rules and extra touch screens for electronic voting.
He said data showing when and where Canberrans were voting each day would be published on the Elections ACT website throughout the campaign, which would help people decide the most appropriate time for them to cast their ballot.
Mr Cantwell said it was continuing to prepare for the possibility that a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases could further disrupt the election.
But he was confident the measures in place would allow the election to be held safely.
"The pandemic has caused a degree of community unrest. I want to reassure the community that Elections ACT is taking all the steps we can to protect them as they take part in the election this year," he said.