Media advisory: Tonight’s count

Updated: 21 May 2022

The count:

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

What 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?

  • 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 we 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

Our advice to party leaders

  • A letter from the Electoral Commissioner to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition regarding the counting process can be found on the counting page.