Count schedule

The below table outlines the planned count schedule. This schedule may change, subject to operational requirements. Candidates will be notified of any change via email.

Date and start time 9am 1pm 3pm
Monday 25 March 2024 Region 2 – Far North Region 3 – Flinders and Upper North -
Tuesday 26 March 2024 Region 4 – Riverland and South East Region 5 – West and West Coast -
Wednesday 27 March 2024 Region 1 – Central - Region 6 – Yorke and Mid North


Before ballot papers are counted, the following activities will be completed:

  • Removal of declaration flaps from declaration envelopes
  • Extraction of ballot papers from declaration envelopes
  • Reconciliation of ballot papers
  • Formality check of ballot papers


Scrutiny of Counting

Candidates may appoint scrutineers to observe the counting of votes.

A scrutineer must show the officer in charge of the counting location a written authorisation signed by the candidate they are representing. The scrutineer appointment form has been provided to all candidates, and can also be downloaded here:

Please ensure this is completed and your scrutineer brings it with them to the location.

More information is available in the Scrutineer Guide (PDF 1.7MB).

If you are thinking about sending scrutineers to the processing centre to observe the preliminary scrutiny of returned declaration envelopes, or the scrutiny and counting of votes, please complete this form as soon as possible to help us plan for the number of people attending:


Counting the Votes for SA First Nations Voice Elections 

A proportional representation system of voting called single transferable vote (STV) is used to elect members of the Local First Nations Voice for each region. This system is also used in South Australian Legislative Council and local government elections.

Under STV electoral systems, a candidate is normally required to obtain a ‘quota’ of the formal votes in order to become elected. This quota - or minimum number of votes required to win a position – ensures that winning candidates are elected with a near equal number of votes.

The SA First Nations Voice to Parliament Elections are unique, because candidates of different genders must be elected. The number of positions available for each gender is limited, and once those positions are filled, candidates of that gender can no longer be elected.

Because this system of counting is complex and requires several different steps to be completed, it can take time to determine the winners. These are the key steps to count the votes for these elections: 

More detailed explanations of each of the key steps can be found below.

1. Count all formal first preference votes

The first step in the process is to sort the ballot papers into first preferences for each candidate. The first preference votes are then counted and the totals recorded.

2. Calculate the quota

The quota is calculated by dividing the total number of formal ballot papers by one more than the number of Local First Nations Voice members to be elected, and adding one.

3. Election of candidates who reach quota

Candidates who receive a total of first preference (or number ‘1’) votes equal to or greater than the quota, are elected if the positions for their gender have not been filled.

If, at this step, all the positions are filled by candidates who reach the quota, the count is completed.

If not enough candidates reach quota, the next steps in the counting process will be completed.

4. Distribution of the surplus votes of elected candidates

If any elected candidates received more votes than the quota, the number of votes above the quota is called a surplus. The surplus votes of elected candidates are distributed to the remaining candidates according to the further preferences indicated on the ballot papers.

Because it is not possible to determine which votes elected the candidate and which votes are surplus, all the elected candidate’s ballot papers are transferred at a reduced value called a transfer value.

The transfer value is calculated as follows:

As surplus votes are distributed, other candidates may be elected. If all the surplus votes from elected candidates have been distributed and there are still positions left to be filled, the next step in the process will be completed.

5. Exclusion of the candidate with the lowest number of votes

Starting with the candidate who received the lowest number of votes, unelected candidates are excluded from the count. The excluded candidate’s ballot papers are distributed to the remaining candidates based on preferences.

If any of the remaining candidates obtain a quota through this process of distribution, they are elected.

6. Elimination of candidates that are no longer able to be elected

If, during the counting process, the positions for a gender are filled, the other candidates of that gender can no longer be elected. These candidates are eliminated and their ballot papers are distributed to the remaining candidates based on preferences.

If any of the remaining candidates obtain a quota through this process of distribution, they are elected.

It is important to remember that these steps will not always be conducted in the same order, and may not always apply. The next step will always be dependent on:

  • The number of votes
  • The number of ballot papers with preferences for more than one candidate
  • How many positions for each gender are left to be filled


Exhausted votes

A ballot paper is ‘exhausted’ if it does not include a preference for a candidate remaining in the count. These ballot papers are set aside as they cannot be included in the count any further.


Candidates elected under quota

If the number of candidates remaining in the count is equal to the number of Local First Nations Voice members to be elected, those candidates are elected to those positions. They can be elected even if they have not reached the quota.

If there are two candidates left for one position, the candidate who has the most votes will be elected, even if they have not reached the quota.


More information

For more detailed information on how the votes are counted, visit the First Nations Voice Act 2023 and the First Nations Voice to Parliament Election Rules (PDF 292KB)


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