Australian Electoral Commission

Scrutineers

Updated: 21 December 2010

Scrutineers are appointed by candidates to observe the voting, and counting of the votes. Scrutineers have the right to be present when the ballot boxes are sealed and opened and when the votes are sorted and counted so that they may check any possible irregularities.

During polling

During polling a candidate is entitled to appoint one Scrutineer for each issuing point in the polling place. Scrutineers inside polling places must wear an identification badge.

Scrutineers may:

  • Observe all voting procedures except the elector actually voting, unless the elector is an assisted voter;
  • object to the right of any person to vote;
  • be nominated by a an elector to help with the completion of a ballot paper; and
  • enter and leave the polling place at any time during voting.

Scrutineers may not:

  • Remain in a polling place without an identification badge;
  • interfere with, or attempt to influence, any elector;
  • disclose any knowledge gained concerning the vote of a person;
  • wear a badge or emblem of a political party or candidate within the polling place; or
  • deliberately show or leave in the polling place any how-to-vote card or similar direction as to how an elector should vote.

During the counting of votes

Each candidate is entitled to appoint one scrutineer per polling official employed in the count. All proceedings at the count are open to inspection by scrutineers.

Scrutineers may:

  • Enter and leave the polling place at any time during the counts (their places may be taken by other appointed scrutineers); and
  • inspect any ballot paper.

Scrutineers may not:

  • Remain in a polling place without having first provided a completed appointment form;
  • enter a polling place without a scrutineer’s badge;
  • help with clearing polling booths or the removal of material from the polling place;
  • touch ballot papers; or
  • unreasonably delay or interfere in the progress of counting the votes.

For more information, see the Scrutineer's Handbook.