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State by-election bulletin: Upper Hunter No 3

Bulletin No 3
Issued 13 May 2021

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1. Regulated period for electoral material

The regulated period for electoral material (including how-to-vote material) commenced on Friday, 30 April and ends at 6pm on election day, Saturday, 22 May. Electoral material produced, published, distributed or displayed during the regulated period for the by-election must comply with the requirements of the Electoral Act 2017. Electoral material that is to be distributed on election day must be registered with the NSW Electoral Commission. Registration closes at 5pm, Friday 14 May.

The NSW Electoral Commission monitors and enforces compliance with the legislative requirements of the Electoral Act relating to electoral material.  It is an offence to fail to comply with those requirements.

More information on the requirements applying to electoral material can be found on the NSW Electoral Commission’s website and in the Candidate handbook.

2. Compliance operations during the voting period

NSW Electoral Commission inspectors are visiting voting centres during the early voting period and on election day. These inspectors are monitoring that electoral material and the conduct of candidates, third party campaigners and their campaign volunteers complies with the legislation. Directions given by an inspector or other election officials must be complied with.  

3. Scrutiny of returned postal vote certificate envelopes

Returned postal vote certificate envelopes containing completed postal vote ballot papers will be scrutinised at the election manager’s office at 31 John Street, Singleton from Monday, 17 May. This scrutiny will continue each day up to the deadline for receipt of returned postal vote certificate envelopes at 6pm, Wednesday, 26 May.

Accepted envelopes will be opened, and postal ballot papers will be extracted and placed directly into a ballot box, on a daily basis. Counting of accepted postal votes will not begin until Monday, 24 May.

Candidates and/or registered political parties are entitled to appoint a scrutineer to witness this process. Please refer to the Scrutineers’ section below for more detail.

4. Initial count and check count

All ballot papers will undergo the following counts:

  • first preference initial count
  • two-candidates preferred initial count
  • check count using the NSW Electoral Commission’s Legislative Assembly data entry system.

The following table details the locations and times for the commencement of the initial counts

Vote typeTime and location of count

Election day voting centres

At each voting centre from 6pm, Saturday 22 May.

Early voting

At the election manager’s office from 6pm, Saturday 22 May and will continue from 9am on Sunday 23 and, if required, Monday 24 May.


At the NSW Electoral Commission's office from 6pm, Saturday 22 May.

Postal and other declaration vote types

At the election manager’s office from 9am, Monday 24 May and continue daily to Thursday 27 May.

5. Check count (data entry)

After the initial count of voting centre, early voting centre and declaration ballot papers, these ballot papers will undergo a check count. The check count involves entering the votes recorded on the ballot papers into the NSW Electoral Commission’s data entry system. This data entry will take place in the election manager’s office commencing from 1pm on Sunday, 23 May and will continue at 9am each day up to Thursday, 27 May following the deadline for the receipt of postal votes at 6pm, Wednesday 26 May.

6. Distribution of preferences

The data entry system will automatically distribute preferences to determine the elected candidate. The distribution of preferences is scheduled to begin at the election manager’s office at 9am on Friday, 28 May.

7. Publication of election results

Initial count results will appear on the NSW Electoral Commission's website from approximately 7pm on Saturday, 22 May.

The website will be continually updated from Sunday, 23 May for the week after election day as ballot papers undergo the initial counts and check count.

After the distribution of preferences, the website will be updated to show the full distribution of preferences.

8. Scrutineers

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the large number of candidates contesting this by-election, scrutineer numbers will be limited to the following:

Location and time


Number of scrutineers allowed per candidate or registered political party*

Election manager’s office from Monday, 17 May and continuing daily up to Thursday, 28 May

Scrutiny of returned postal vote declaration envelopes and extraction of ballot papers


Election manager’s office from Saturday, 22 May and continuing daily up to Tuesday, 25 May

Scrutiny of returned provisional vote declaration envelopes


NSW Electoral Commission's office

iVote: refer to item 12 in Bulletin 2 dated 4 May for details


Voting centres from 6pm, Saturday 22 May

Initial count of ballot papers in voting centres


Election manager’s office from 6pm, Saturday 22 May and continuing daily from 9am, Sunday 23 May

Initial count of early votes, postal votes and other declaration vote types.

Saturday: 4
Sunday: 2
Monday onwards: 1

Election manager’s office from 1pm, Sunday, 23 May and continuing daily from 9am, Monday 24 May to Thursday, 27 May

Data entry of ballot papers
7 data entry teams and 1 quality assurance team


*a scrutineer cannot be appointed by both the candidate and the party to exceed the total number of scrutineers allowed.

The NSWEC is running this election, including the counting process, consistent with its COVID-19 Action Plan.  The advice in this Bulletin regarding attendance of scrutineers may be subject to change at short notice, to comply with COVID-19 health orders and the Action Plan.

Scrutineers must be appointed in writing by completing an Appointment of Scrutineer Form SE.213.  Scrutineers must complete the declaration on that form each time they wish to attend a voting centre, election manager’s office or the NSW Electoral Commission's office.