2020 Legislative Assembly election

Updated 24 Apr 2020

Visit our specific webpage for information on COVID-19 and the impact upon the 2020 ACT election.

Election day iconFrom 1989 until 2004, the ACT had fixed three-year terms.  Since the 2004 election, the ACT has had fixed four-year terms.  ACT Legislative Assembly elections are now held on the third Saturday in October every four years.  From its establishment in 1989 until 2015, the ACT Legislative Assembly consisted of 17 members.  Since the 2016 election, the Assembly consists of 25 members.

ACT Legislative Assembly elections follow a timetable, as outlined in the following table showing the expected timetable for the election due to be held in 2020:

Timetable for 2020 election
Timetable 2020 Election
Last day to lodge applications for party register 30 June 2020       
Party registration closes10 September 2020
Pre-election period commences and nominations open 11 September 2020       
Rolls close 8pm 18 September 2020
Nominations close 12 noon, 23 September 2020
Nominations declared and ballot paper order determined 24 September 2020
Pre-poll voting commences 28 September 2020
Polling day 17 October 2020
Last day for receipt of postal votes 23 October 2020
Scrutiny 17 October 2020 until as soon as practicable after the last day for the receipt of postal votes
Poll declared As soon as practicable after the conclusion of the scrutiny
Legislative Assembly formed Within 7 days of the declaration of the poll

Last day to lodge applications for party register

An application for party registration, or any application to change the name or abbreviation of an already registered party, may be made at any time. However, to take effect at an election, an application must be made before 1 July in an election year.

Party registration closes

The Commissioner is required to close the register 36 days before polling day. No action can be taken on any application or appeal against a decision on an application during the pre-election period.

Pre-election period commences and nominations open

Nominations open 36 days before the election. You can stand for election to the ACT Legislative Assembly if you are:

  • an Australian citizen, and
  • 18 years old, and
  • qualified to be an elector in the ACT (that is, you have lived in the ACT for at least one month).

A person who wants to be a candidate for election to the ACT Legislative Assembly must first make certain they are qualified and then be nominated. They may be nominated by twenty electors who are entitled to vote in the electorate for which they wish to stand or by a registered political party. A deposit of $250 must accompany each candidate's nomination.

Rolls close

The electoral roll closes 29 days before the election. All ACT residents who are Australian citizens and are 18 or over are reminded to enrol. If your name is not on the roll by the time it closes you will not be able to vote at the election.

Nominations close

Nominations close 24 days before an election. This gives time for the ballot papers to be printed correctly before polling commences. Any candidate who is not nominated by this time cannot stand in the election.

Nominations declared and ballot paper order determined

Nominations are declared 24 hours after they close. The order of names on the ballot papers are then determined by lot.

Pre-poll voting commences

Voting starts 19 days before the election for those people who cannot get to a polling booth on polling day. These people may be sick or overseas or going away on holidays or have to work on polling day. If the day that voting is due to commence is a public holiday in the ACT, then voting commences on the next business day.

Polling day

Polling day is the day that polling places open all over the ACT for people to be able to cast their vote. Polling places are open from 8 am to 6 pm.

Last day for receipt of postal votes

Postal votes are accepted for another six days after polling day, provided that they were posted before polling day.


As soon as the poll closes, counting of the votes begins. This is called the scrutiny. Votes are initially counted in each polling place. Votes are entered into a computer system which checks formality and distributes preferences.

Legislative Assembly formed

All 25 members of the Legislative Assembly meet and vote for a Speaker for the Assembly. Then the members vote for the Chief Minister.