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Will we know the result tonight? The timeline for election results

May 21, 2022


The Australian Electoral Commission has sent out a useful Q&A about the counting process.


It begins at 6pm this evening immediately after booths have closed.


What is counted tonight?

  • All votes cast today will be counted tonight

  • The majority of pre-poll votes cast will also be counted tonight

  • There will be large pre-poll counts that will not be available until late in the night

  • All counting will cease at midnight local time

How about postal votes?

  • 2.7 million postal vote applications were received this Federal election, up from 1.5 million in 2019

  • Postal votes are not counted tonight

  • The first small postal vote counts will be available from Sunday afternoon

  • This is earlier than previously when postal counts did not occur until the Tuesday

  • The AEC is at its limits of recruitment (105,000 staff) and WHS responsibilities


Will there be a result tonight?

  • At the last Federal election in 2019, it took a mammoth 16 days to get a final decision on who won the seat of Macquarie, simply because the result was so close

  • Two out of the previous four federal elections have not seen a clear result on election night

  • If the result is close, we may not know who forms Government tonight

  • The AEC never declares seats on election night, legally they cannot


When can seats be legally declared?

  • A seat has never been legally declared in the first few days following election day

  • To declare a seat formally the margin in the contest has to be bigger than the total of votes potentially left to be counted

  • A mandatory secondary count of every ballot paper has to occur before a formal declaration


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