2013 federal election timetable

Updated: 9 September 2013
2013 federal election timetable
Activity Description Date
Announcement of election The Prime Minister announced that the 2013 federal election would be held on Saturday 7 September. Sunday 4 August 2013
Issue of writ

Writs for the 2013 election were issued.

A writ is a document commanding an electoral officer to hold an election, and contains dates for the close of rolls, the close of nominations, the polling day and the return of the writ. The Governor-General issues the writs for House of Representatives elections and the territories’ Senate elections. State Governors issue writs for states' Senate elections

6pm Monday 5 August 2013
Postal vote applications open If you are unable to vote on election day you can apply for a postal vote if you:
  • are outside the electorate where you are enrolled to vote
  • are more than 8km from a polling place
  • are travelling
  • can't leave your workplace to vote
  • are seriously ill, infirm or due to give birth shortly (or caring for someone who is)
  • are a patient in hospital and can't vote at the hospital
  • have religious beliefs that prevent you from attending a polling place
  • are in prison serving a sentence of less than three years or otherwise detained
  • are a silent elector
  • have reasonable fear for your safety.
on announcement
Close of rolls

The 'close of rolls' is the date the electoral roll closes for the federal election, as set out in the writs. After this date, you cannot enrol or update your details on the electoral roll for the federal election.

The close of rolls date is 8pm local Australian time on the seventh calendar day after the writs are issued for the federal election.

8pm Monday 12 August 2013
Close of candidate bulk nominations (House of Representatives) Registered political parties may lodge the nomination of all the candidates they are standing in House of Representative seats in a state/territory with the Australian Electoral Officer for that state/territory by this date. 12 midday Tuesday 13 August 2013
Close of candidate nominations Close of nominations for both House of Representatives and Senate candidates occurs at exactly midday on the date set out in the writ for close of nominations. Late nominations or changes cannot be accepted. 12 midday Thursday 15 August 2013
Declaration of candidate nominations 24 hours after the close of nominations (midday), all divisional returning officers and state electoral officers declare nominations and conduct a ballot draw for positions on the relevant ballot paper. 12 midday Friday 16 August 2013
Close of Group Voting Ticket lodgement 24 hours after the declaration of nominations, Senate groups may lodge up to three written statements setting out a preference order of all candidates in the Senate election for the state/territory in which they have they nominated. These will then dictate the distribution of preferences if an elector votes for that group above the line. 12 midday Saturday 17 August 2013
Early voting commences Early voting becomes available for eligible voters. Eligibility criteria are the same as those for postal voting. From Tuesday 20 August 2013
Mobile polling commences Mobile polling is carried out on or before election day. Mobile polling teams visit voters in locations including hospitals, nursing homes, and remote areas. From Monday 26 August 2013
Preliminary scrutiny commences During preliminary scrutiny postal vote certificates and declaration envelopes containing early, absent or provisional votes are checked to determine whether the person is entitled to vote. No declaration vote envelope can be opened or ballot paper scrutinised before the close of the poll, 6pm on election day. From Monday 2 September 2013
Close of postal vote applications An application for a postal vote must be received by the AEC no later than 6pm on the Thursday before election day. 6pm Thursday 5 September 2013
Election day Polling will occur in all designated polling places from 8am to 6pm local time. Polling closes at 6:00 pm sharp, however any voters in the queue at that time are able to cast their vote. Saturday 7 September 2013
Count of votes The counting of ordinary votes begins in each polling place immediately after the poll closes at 6pm on election day. The counting of ordinary votes taken at pre-poll voting centres also commences after 6pm on election day. 6pm on election night, 7 September 2013
Fresh scrutiny or re-check The initial scrutiny conducted at the polling place on election night is routinely followed by a 'fresh scrutiny' or re-check of votes cast. This is conducted by the divisional returning officer in the days following election day and ensures that the count undertaken on election night is correct. After election night
Scrutiny of declaration votes Declaration votes do not get counted on election night. They are counted in the divisional office in the period following election night. Those declaration votes which were cast outside the 'home' division, e.g. absent votes, first need to be returned to the 'home' division by the division which took the votes.
At the home division, they first go through 'preliminary scrutiny' in order to determine whether the person is entitled to vote. If the person is entitled to vote, they are accepted and proceed to 'further scrutiny' where the envelopes are opened, the ballot papers removed, and the counting conducted.
From the Monday after election day
Last day for receipt of Declaration votes

All declaration votes must be received (either through the declaration vote exchange or postal votes being returned) in the relevant division no later than 13 days after election day.

Postal votes are included in the count if they were cast before 6pm on election day and are received within 13 days after the close of the poll.

6pm Friday 20 September 2013
Return of writs (latest date) The writs must be returned within 100 days of their issue. This is the latest date by which they can be returned but they can be returned earlier.
The new Parliament must sit not later than 30 days after the due date for the return of the writs.
Wednesday 13 November 2013