Postal vote counting process has begun

Updated: 5 July 2016

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has commenced the process of counting postal votes which is proceeding in a progressive, orderly way across the country in the presence of scrutineers.

This morning the AEC began the series of steps that must be completed before postal votes can be opened and ballot papers counted; these additional steps mean the process takes longer than the counting of ordinary votes.

In line with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the AEC’s focus on integrity and the ‘one person one vote’ principle, the Divisional Returning Officer (DRO) and staff in each divisional office must first determine whether each person is entitled to a vote before taking the ballot papers out of each envelope and then conducting the count in batches of one to two thousand.

A postal ballot paper will be admitted to the count if the DRO is satisfied:

  • the elector is enrolled (or entitled to be enrolled) for the division
  • the vote contained in the envelope was recorded prior to the close of the poll (which is done by checking the date the witness has signed)
  • the signature on the postal vote certificate is valid, and
  • the signature is correctly witnessed.

All divisions in Victoria, Tasmania and Northern Territory have completed the initial steps and commenced opening envelopes and extracting the ballot papers which will then be added to the count. The AEC anticipates the remaining states and the ACT will progressively commence opening envelopes in coming hours.

Results will be published on the AEC Tally Room once the count of each batch has been completed. Given the start of these counts will occur throughout the afternoon and the number of ballot papers to be counted, results will be published progressively on the AEC Tally Room from mid-afternoon.