10 day period after polling day
There is a 10-day period after polling day for postal votes to return from overseas and interstate. These ballots must be post marked before the close of voting on 1 May.
During this period Returning Officers will organise formality rechecking on all ballot papers and progressively accept and process returned postal votes.
For the 2010 Legislative Council elections, the Returning Officer must receive postal votes no later than 10 am on Tuesday 11 May.
Provisional distribution of preferences
During this 10-day period, the Electoral Commission may direct the returning officer to undertake a provisional distribution of preferences to determine the likely outcome of the election.
A provisional distribution is where the election scrutiny is conducted using the votes already received.
If the provisional distribution can show which candidate will be elected, the declaration of the poll can occur before the end of the 10-day period.
However, at some stage during the provisional distribution, the number of outstanding postal votes may be too large to be sure of the order of exclusion of candidates. When this occurs the election outcome may not be clear until the final postal votes have been received.
Once the deadline for the return of postal votes has occurred, the returning officer will formally commence the distribution of preferences.
Declaration of the poll
The Declaration of the Poll is a short ceremony at which the Returning Officer formally announces the successful candidates. Successful candidates are asked to speak, followed by other candidates present who may wish to do so. The Declaration of the Poll is open to candidates, the media and the public.
Following the declarations, the writs for the elections will be returned to His Excellency the Governor.
Under the preferential voting system used at Legislative Council elections a candidate must obtain a majority of the formal vote to be elected.
If no candidate has a majority of the vote from first preferences, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is excluded. This process of excluding candidates continues until someone obtains a majority.
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