The AEC has distributed a helpful Q&A about the counting process, which begins after 6pm.
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