Legislative Council
Elections 2018

What Happens at Legislative Council 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 requires 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.

For the 2018 Legislative Council Elections, the Governor will issue 2 writs - one each for the divisions of Hobart and Prosser.

The electoral roll for the election closes at 6pm on the day the Writ is Issued.


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

Who can be nominated?

To be elected as a Member, a person must be an elector, or be entitled to have his / her name placed on the roll for a Legislative Council 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 Legislative Council election if he or she is: a member of the House of Assembly; 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 two ways a person can be nominated as a candidate at a Legislative Council election:
  • by a registered party,
  • 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 returning officer will refund the $400 nomination deposit if the nominated candidate has:

  • been elected;
  • not been elected but, at any stage of the scrutiny obtained a number of votes which is not less than 20% of an absolute majority of votes;
  • withdrawn his/her nomination as a candidate before 12 noon on nomination day; or
  • died before polling day.

If an election fails, the deposit will be returned to all candidates.

At past elections, approximately 2 000 votes has been 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 candidates contesting the election are officially announced.

Once the candidates have been announced, the draws for positions on the ballot paper are undertaken. At a Legislative Council election, all candidate names are included in a single column.

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.

After the draw for the first rotation has been completed, ballot papers can be produced. The first group of ballot papers are produced quickly so they can be used for sending out postal votes and issuing early pre-poll votes. A second, much larger run of ballot papers is produced for using in polling places.

A full list of candidates is published in the relevant daily newspapers a few days after the announcement of candidates. The candidate names are shown in alphabetical order.

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

Draw for ballot paper position

The names of all candidates are placed inside the blue balls pictured. The balls are then placed in a container large enough for the balls to move about freely. Before the balls are taken out, the container is shaken and rotated, the balls are then removed one at a time.

The order of the names on the first ballot paper rotation is the name of the candidate in the first ball taken out. The second ball will reveal the name of the candidate who will be second on the ballot paper. The third ball will provide the name of the third candidate on the ballot paper and so on until all the candidates are listed on the ballot paper in the order they are taken out of the container.

Polling & the Tally

Voting at Legislative Council elections is compulsory. You can vote at any polling place 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 in person at electoral offices within Tasmania and across Australia at State and Territory Electoral Commission divisional offices. 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 pre-poll centre, call 1800 801 701.

Postal voting

Postal voting is available to all Tasmanian electors who cannot get to a polling place on polling day. There are 3 steps involved:

  1. Voters must first apply for a postal vote;
  2. The ballot is then mailed to the voter, who completes it;
  3. The voter then returns it to the Returning Officer by post.

Postal voters can print a postal vote application form, or pick one up from the nearest Tasmanian 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 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 available to electors who are not in Tasmania (or in an isolated area of Tasmania*) on polling day, and are unable to vote at a pre-poll centre, or an interstate electoral office, or via postal vote.
*Particularly remote islands such as Maria and Maatsuyker Islands. Tasmanians stationed in Antarctica are also eligible to use an Express Vote.

While express voting is significantly faster than postal voting, the secrecy of the ballot cannot be guaranteed.

Polling day

Polling day is Saturday, 5 May 2018. Polls are open from 8 am to 6 pm, AEDT.

You may vote in any polling place 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 divisions will be available at every polling place. This means you can cast an ordinary vote at any polling place in Tasmania.

Election night

Immediately after the polls close, counting of first preferences begins at the polling places and the figures are provided to the returning officers. These preliminary results will be posted to the TEC website as they become available.

There is no central tally room on election night for Legislative Council elections. 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 it may be necessary for preferences to be distributed before the results can be confirmed.

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.

Postal votes must be recorded before the close of voting on 5 May. For the 2018 Legislative Council elections, the Returning Officer must receive postal votes no later than 10am on Tuesday 15 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 count 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 Her Excellency the Governor.

Election count

Under the preferential voting system used at Legislative Council elections a candidate must obtain an absolute majority of the formal vote to be elected.

If no candidate has an absolute 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 an absolute majority.

Related information


Progressive results...

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Your Candidates

Hobart and Prosser candidates have been announced...

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Information for Candidates

Handbook + other information...

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Ways to Vote

Services to help you have your say in the Hobart and Prosser Legislative Council elections.

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Polling Places

Find your nearest polling place on polling day...

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Important Dates

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

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The divisions of Hobart and Prosser are scheduled to go to election in 2018...

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Check your enrolment, update your details, or enrol to vote...
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Election Information Line

1800 801 701

Interested in working at
future elections?

   Information and application form.

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