Count update

Updated: 7 June 2022

Counting activities completed so far

  • To date, hundreds of millions of individual checks have occurred in what is a deliberately methodical, large scale and transparent manual exercise. This has included:
    • Over 240 million initial and secondary checks on House of Representatives vote preferences,
    • Initial manual counting of more than 15 million Senate ballot papers,
    • More than 61.6 million Senate preferences electronically captured so far,
    • More than 3.5 million verification checks to confirm declarations against the electoral roll, and
    • 135 three-candidate-preferred counts in required seats.
  • On election night, the 105,000 AEC staff employed for polling undertook initial counts for ballot papers to hand (approximately 19.5 million ballot papers – House and Senate).
  • Since then, and up until the deadline for receipt of postal and other declaration votes on Friday 3 June, thousands of post-election counting staff have operated in 70 different count centres.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said that while results in almost all seats are publicly known our assurance activities, mammoth in scale and not well understood outside the walls of an AEC counting centre, must continue.

“Our local teams, many of whom pulled out all the stops to deliver the vote in a six-week election campaign affected by COVID staffing issues, continue to work long hours and weekends to deliver the rigorous procedural and legislative requirements that an Australian federal election demands,” Mr Rogers said.

“The count to date has delivered Australians their chosen government and we’re continuing to stick tightly to our processes to deliver final, trusted and legal results in all House and Senate contests by the legislated deadline.”

Moving forward: Count activities and timing

  • A sizeable increase in postal votes for 2022 has resulted in the receipt of a comparatively larger quantity of declaration votes close to the deadline for receipt on Friday 3 June, pushing verification and counting activity back.
  • An increase in House of Representatives contests with significant vote totals beyond the two leading candidates (a wider spread of votes) has changed the nature of the count for a federal election.
  • It is anticipated that up to 75 seats – more than double compared to the previous federal election – may have to undergo a full distribution of preferences prior to achieving the mathematical certainty required for a formal, legal AEC declaration of the result.
  • Full distribution of preferences counts take time and can only safely commence once all votes received by last Friday’s deadline have been fully verified and counted (first preferences, two-candidate preferred and fresh scrutiny).
  • Formal House of Representatives result declarations will increase this week but many seats will not be formally declared until next week and beyond.
  • The Senate counting process continues with smaller jurisdictions anticipated to have captured all preferences by mid next week.
  • The deadline for the return of writs is 28 June. For some contests, the entire allowable period may be required in order to complete the count and formally declare the result.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said the counting assurance activities being completed in the coming days and weeks were essential to the integrity of the process.

“Right, not rushed – It’s a key principle for us and despite an understandable external desire for things to be wrapped up quickly, it is a principle that maintains the strength of Australian elections,” Mr Rogers said.

“We will deliver legal, transparent and trusted results by the legislated deadline.”

Editor’s notes: