What Happens at House of Assembly Elections

Enrolment Period & Issue of Writs

The elections begin with the enrolment period and the issue of the Writs of election.

The writ is a document which commands the returning officer to hold an election and specifies the dates for the close of nominations, polling day, and the last possible date for the return of the writ.

House of Assembly elections begin with the proclamation dissolving the House of Assembly and end with the return of the writ.

The Governor issues five writs for a House of Assembly general election, one for each of the five divisions: Bass, Braddon, Denison, Franklin and Lyons.


The election period continues with the nomination of candidates and the announcement of nominations.

In order to stand for election a person must be nominated as a candidate.

Who can be nominated?

To be elected as a Member of the House of Assembly, a person must be an elector, or be entitled to have his / her name placed on the roll for a House of Assembly division;


must have resided in Tasmania for 5 years at any one time;


resided in Tasmania for 2 years immediately preceding his / her nomination.

A person is ineligible to be nominated as a candidate for an Assembly election if he or she is: a member of the Legislative Council; or a candidate for election in another division of either House for which the writ has not been returned; or a member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth.

How is a candidate nominated?

There are three ways a person can be nominated as a candidate at a House of Assembly election:
  • by a registered party,
  • as part of a group on the ballot paper, or
  • as an individual.
The candidate page contains more information and the relevant forms.

Lodging candidate nomination

The nomination form must be received before noon on the day the nomination period closes. All candidate nominations must include a $400 nomination deposit.

Deposit refund

The $400 nomination deposit is refunded to candidates who:

  • withdraw their nomination before 12 noon on nomination day,
  • die before polling day,
  • are elected, or
  • obtain votes equaling one fifth of the quota, at any stage in the scrutiny.

At the 2014 election, approximately 2 200 votes were required to receive a refund.

How to begin the nomination process

If you wish to be nominated as a candidate, you should first carefully read the TEC’s Candidate Guide and the candidate information page on the TEC website. You should also consult the Electoral Act 2004 which can be accessed on-line at Tasmania's legislation online.

Announcement of candidates

At 12 noon on the day following the close of nominations, the names of the candidate contesting the election are officially announced.

Once the candidates have been announced, the draws for positions on the ballot paper are undertaken. The order of the candidate names are rotated for all Tasmanian parliamentary and local government ballot papers. This is to ensure that preferred positions on the ballot paper are shared equally between all candidates.

At a House of Assembly election, the ballot paper draw occurs in two stages:

  1. The party/group draw (one single draw)
  2. Candidate draw (one for each column on the ballot paper)

The first draw is to determine the position of each party and group across the ballot paper. Once this has been completed there is a separate draw for the first rotation of the candidates within each candidate and group.

A full list of candidates for the House of Assembly elections is published as full-page advertisements in The Advocate, The Examiner and The Mercury a few days after the announcement of candidates. The list of candidates shows the party columns in the order they will appear on the ballot papers, with candidate names shown in alphabetical order.

After the ballot draws have been completed, ballots papers can be produced for pre-poll, postal and express voting.

Polling & the Tally

Voting at House of Assembly elections is compulsory. You can vote at any polling place in Tasmania on polling day. If you cannot vote in person on polling day, you must vote early.

Voting before polling day

Pre-poll voting, postal voting and express voting are available as soon as the list of candidates is confirmed.

Pre-poll voting

Pre-poll voting allows electors to vote early at one of 12 pre-poll centres within Tasmania and one of 8 state electoral office outside Tasmania. Pre-poll voting is available during regular electoral office hours soon after the announcement of candidates until the Friday before polling day.

To find your nearest divisional office, call the TEC on 1800 801 701.

Postal voting

Postal voting is available to all Tasmanian electors who cannot get to a polling place on polling day. Voters must first apply for a postal vote. The ballot is then mailed to the voter, who completes it and returns it to the Returning Officer by post.

Overseas voters can apply for a postal vote online.

Postal voters within Tasmania can print a postal vote application form, or pick one up from the nearest post office or electoral office.

Like ordinary voting and pre-poll voting, postal voting maintains the secrecy of the vote.

Express voting

Express voting is a new service which allows electors to receive a ballot paper image by email or fax. The voter must then complete the ballot, sign a declaration and return the ballot and declaration to the returning officer by post, email or fax.

Express voting is only available to voters in remote areas or overseas. While express voting is significantly faster than postal voting, the secrecy of the ballot cannot be guaranteed.

Polling day

Polling day is Saturday, 3 March 2018. Polls are open from 8 am to 6 pm, AEDT.

You may vote at any of Tasmania’s 268 polling places on polling day.

The last day you can vote at an interstate electoral office is the Friday before polling day. Contact the office directly for opening hours.

Election rolls for all five divisions will be available at every polling place. This means you can cast an ordinary vote anywhere in the state.

Election night

Immediately after the polls close, counting of first preferences begins at the polling places.

Preliminary voting results are reported as they arrive at the Tasmanian Electoral Commission’s tally room (details of 2018 tally room to be confirmed).

Preliminary results will also be posted to this election website and ElectionsTas smartphone app as they become available.

Although election night results can give a good indication of who is likely to be elected and which party is likely to form government, changes can occur as preferences are distributed. The final list of elected candidates and the number of seats each party will win will not be known until the Hare-Clark scrutiny has been completed.

After Polling Day

10 day period after polling day

There is a 10 day period after polling day for postal votes to return from overseas and interstate. During this period Returning Officers will organise formality rechecking on all ballot papers and progressively accept and process returning postal votes.

First preference votes for each candidate are then amalgamated before a final check of the ballot papers.

On the Monday before the final cut-off for postal votes, Returning Officers may commence a provisional distribution of the ballot papers received by candidates who have been elected on first preferences. Completing a provisional distribution of these ballot papers speeds up the scrutiny process.

Hare-Clark scrutiny

The Hare-Clark electoral system is a Single Transferable Vote method of proportional representation used in multi-member electorates. Single transferable vote means that a ballot paper moves between candidates as determined by the elector's preferences.

Hare-Clark explained

Enjoy this animation about voting in a Tasmanian House of Assembly elections.

Looking for a more detailed explanation of Hare-Clark? Read more.

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 all 5 divisions will be returned to Her Excellency the Governor.

Related information


Progressive results...

Learn more   
Your Candidates

Candidates have been announced...

Learn more   
Information for Candidates

Handbook + other information...

Learn more   
Ways to Vote

Services to help you have your say in the House of Assembly elections.

Learn more   
Polling Places

Find your nearest polling place on polling day...

Learn more    
Important Dates

The election calendar - enrolment close, nomination period, polling period...

Learn more    

Profiles of the five divisions.

Learn more   

Check your enrolment, update your details, or enrol to vote...
(opens in new tab)

Learn more