How it works? l SBS News

The 2022 federal election campaign is over and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is about to begin the process of counting the millions of votes.
So how does the vote count work and when will there be a winner?
Australia’s manual federal election system has one of the most complex and time-consuming counting operations in the world, he says.
And while it can sometimes take patience, the counting process “ensures the integrity” of the results and guarantees “accuracy in a highly transparent manner”.

Here are all your questions answered.

When do polling stations close on Election Day and when does the counting of votes begin?

Election day is this Saturday, May 21. Voting will take place at all designated polling stations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Polling stations close at 6 p.m. sharp, however, all voters in line at that time can still vote.

The counting of ordinary votes begins at each polling station immediately afterwards, as does the counting of ordinary votes for the House of Representatives taken at polling centers before the ballot.


How it works?

The AEC views election night as the “midpoint” of the federal election, which will see an estimated 20 to 25 million ballots counted in what is called an indicative tally.

The House of Representatives has

There are 151 seats in the House of Representatives and a significant proportion of the ballots for each seat will be counted on election night.
AEC election officers will begin by opening and emptying ballot boxes and unfolding ballot papers. All “1” (first preference) votes are placed in separate piles for each candidate and counted.
This also occurs in the central counting centers of the AEC where a significant proportion of early votes will also be counted on election night.
Staff will then conduct a two-preferred-candidate (TCP) count.
“This involves the distribution of each official ballot to one of two candidates (the one with the highest preference) who should be the first candidate in the contest,” the AEC said.

“The TCP count is a mandatory requirement and is done to give an early indication of who is most likely to win each seat, as this is not always clear from first preferences.”

The Senate counts

According to the AEC, it is one of the most complex upper house counts in the world and involves several security measures and checks.
After the House of Representatives are counted, polling officials sort the ballots by each party/group’s top preferences, whether number 1 is in the box above the group line or in the box below. below a candidate’s line. Separate stacks are created for the first preferences assigned to each ungrouped candidate.

After election night, Senate ballots are packaged and delivered to AEC Central Counting Centers where first preferences are recounted. They are then repackaged and sent to the Senate Central Control Site (CSS) in each state and territory.

When will we know who wins?

We may not know the outcome — which party will form government — on Saturday. And while Australians are used to having a result on election night, it won’t come from the AEC.
“The AEC has never announced and probably never will declare a result on election night,” AEC media spokesman Evan Ekin-Smyth said in a video on its website.
“We provide an indicative tally for people, media commentators, election analysts – in fact parties and candidates themselves – to make up their minds about where the results might go.”
Instead, he said we would see media commentators or candidates themselves announcing they thought they would claim victory. But this is not yet a legal result of the AEC.
“We need to undertake a new review and we also need to make absolutely sure that the margin in the count is greater than the potential number of votes still to be received,” he says.

“That’s our test of declaring – the mathematical impossibility we have to meet before we can declare a seat. It doesn’t happen on election night. In fact, it won’t happen the next day either. It happens usually in the days and weeks after the elections.”


What happens after election night? Or Sunday?

Sunday is usually a day when people will wonder why there is little movement in some of the counts closest to election night.
Mr. Ekin-Smyth says there is a lot of activity on Sunday, but not often a lot of movement in the score room.
“A lot of it is about organizing the ballots to get them ready to be counted as quickly as possible, throughout that first week,” he says.
What happens after election night? The AEC handles the packaging, transportation and registration verification of ballots cast away, as well as the delivery, receipt and registration of absentee ballots.
On Friday, the AEC received 2.73 million mail-in ballot requests and more than 25,000 people voted with a mobile voting team. More than 4.6 million Australians voted at early voting centres, meaning a total of 7.35 million people accessed voting services ahead of Election Day.

Postal votes must be received by the AEC by Friday, June 3 to be included in the vote.


A mandatory secondary count is performed, along with full distribution of preferences for all House of Representatives ballots, and scanning, data entry, and human verification of Senate preferences.

The AEC says it is guided by the principle of “straight, not rushed”.

How does the AEC ensure the integrity of the vote count?

The AEC says the election night count is entirely open to party-appointed scrutineers, as it is at all stages of the counting process. All the results are published on its score room in real time.

Then there are additional levels of control through its mandatory sub-metering, verification and security checks.


How many seats does a party or coalition need to win to form a government?

With 151 seats up for grabs in the House of Representatives, a party or coalition of parties must win 76 in that chamber or face a hung parliament.

This means Labor would need a net gain of seven seats as the coalition seeks to hold on to or increase its own gain in the next poll.


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