Vote counting schedule

Updated 16 Oct 2020

All counting processes, both electronic and paper-based, have been rigorously planned and tested. Ballot material and results data is kept secure and counting activities are undertaken in an environment open to scrutineers.

Election night

Below is a brief outline of what results will be available after 6pm on election night, Saturday 17 October 2020.

Votes cast at early voting centres

Results from all electronic votes cast at early voting centres are anticipated to be displayed within 1-2 hours of the voting centres closing at 6pm on the final day of voting. This will include both the first preferences data and a preliminary distribution of preferences for each electorate.

The strength of the indication that this initial results data provides, in terms of who the successful candidates might be, is entirely dependent on just how many early/electronic votes are cast and then how close the margins are at the various exclusion and election points during the distribution process. Approximately 90% of votes being cast at early voting centres are being cast electronically.

Votes cast on paper ballots during the early voting period are not counted on election night. Initial counts of first preferences for paper votes cast during the early voting period will commence on the Sunday following election day.

Votes cast at polling places on election day

The fifteen early voting centre locations available during the early voting period are continuing to operate on Saturday 17 October and will continue to offer both electronic and paper ballots. First preference results from electronic votes cast on election day will be available within 1-2 hours of polls closing at 6pm, in line with the publication of results from electronic votes cast during the early voting period.

For paper-based votes cast on Saturday, each polling place will complete a first preference count after the polls close at 6pm. This data will be transmitted to the election results display website, which will be updated frequently throughout Saturday night. This results data should also begin to appear within 1-2 hours of polls closing but will become available progressively as individual polling place counts are completed.

Overseas e-voting

Votes from ACT electors overseas who utilised the e-voting service available for this election are considered declaration votes. All declaration votes are required to undergo a preliminary scrutiny before first preference results can be ascertained. The preliminary scrutiny of overseas e-votes will not commence until the Monday following election day.

Postal votes

No postal votes will be counted on election night.

After election night

Below is a brief outline of counting activity that will occur in the days following election night.

First preference counts - paper ballots

Some first preference counts will occur on the Sunday following election day. This will include paper ballots cast at early voting centres. It may also include some postal votes.

First preference counts will continue throughout the following days and include other vote varieties such as declaration votes and the amalgamated votes from polling places that only took less than 20 votes for an electorate.

Ballot scanning, verification and distribution of preferences

The scanning of paper ballots will commence on the Monday following election day. Once scanned, preferences marked on paper ballots go through an on-screen verification process undertaken by polling officials and open to scrutineers. This process can involve double-verification and the cross-reference to the physical ballot as required.

Each evening following the conclusion of scanning, Elections ACT will amalgamate any votes from completed polling places with the electronic votes previously distributed (on election night) and will publish an updated interim distribution of preferences.

This practice will continue until every ballot paper has been scanned and approved.

Officially declaring the result

Elections ACT cannot officially declare the results of the 2020 ACT Legislative Assembly election until all votes have been received, final quotas have been determined and full distributions of preferences have been undertaken.

The deadline for postal votes to be received back by Elections ACT is 5pm Friday 23 October 2020. As such, any final count of remaining ballot papers cannot be undertaken until after this point.

A formal declaration of results is therefore not expected until mid-week in the week commencing Monday 26 October 2020 at the earliest.

Further information