Nigel Farage's Brexit Party accused of pushing subliminal messages on ballot papers

Greg Evans
Friday 17 May 2019 12:15
news

If you believe polls then Nigel Farage's Brexit Party will sweep to a resounding victory during next week's European Elections and it could come down to something as simple as their logo.

The party's logo is a simple arrow in a circle that points to the right which would appear harmless enough but is there something else going on here that no one noticed until it was on a ballot paper.

In an Instagram post, graphic designer and Design of the Year winner, Ben Terrett pointed out that the logo appears to point right at the box where voters will put an X on their sheet on May 23.

In his post, Terrett explained that he had just voted in the elections via a postal vote when he noticed the apparent subliminal messaging of the logo and believes that it could compel people to vote for them.

I hate Brexit. I hate Farage even more.

I just voted in the Euro elections (postal) and here’s a thing: it’s a massive arrow pointing at the box where you mark your X with the word BREXIT written in big font. 

That’s going to get a lot of Xs. A helluva lot of Xs. They are a single issue, probably single election party, and this is a very clever piece of graphic design.

Contrast this with the confused approach of the Change UK The Independent Group party. 

A similar point has also been made by several Twitter users.

Others have also called attention to the logo. Pro-EU activist, Magdelena Williams has started a petition for the logo to be banned. She wites on the petition's page.

This needs urgent attention. We know Vote Leave broke the law at the 2016 referendum. We will not put up with another attempt to hijack the votes.

Elsewhere, Richard Bentall, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Sheffield, wrote to the Electoral Commission last week to complain about the logo.

I have just read that the Brexit Party logo to be used on the ballot paper in the imminent elections to the European Parliament is an arrow pointing to the choice box for the party.

You should not require a psychologist with three decades of research experience to point out to you that this is an obvious cue to vote for the party.

In the case of many voters, the cue may well work subliminally (the voter will not be aware of it)

In my professional opinion, the ballot paper confers an unfair advantage to the Brexit Party, and clearly violates democratic norms.

‘You might as well put a bright red ring around the party’s choice box.’

However, the electoral has ruled the logo to be acceptable and isn't likely to 'mislead voters.' In a statement given to The Metro, a spokesperson said:

As part of an application to register a political party, we consider any emblems against the statutory tests set out in law.

One of the statutory tests requires the Commission to consider whether an emblem is likely to contradict or hinder a voter’s understanding of guidance for voting set out on the ballot paper or elsewhere.

After our robust and thorough assessment process, we came to the opinion that this emblem was not likely to mislead a voter.

This is consistent with other decisions we have made about party emblems.

Part of our consideration was that, if at all, the emblem directs voters to the correct place to cast their vote for the party and does not encourage or discourage voters from casting their vote for other parties, or in any other way not to cast their vote correctly.

The same cannot be said for the Change UK logo, which was rejected by the Electoral Commission last month who said that their logo was "likely to mislead voters" and "contains a link to online material."

This means that the group will have to go without a logo on ballot papers and will subsequently have an empty space next to their name.

HT De Zeen, Metro

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