POLLING DAY: Be sure to have your say

TASMANIANS will have their say today in the make-up of the state's next Parliament.

More than 366,000 Tasmanians have enrolled to vote -  a jump of 2.55 per cent from the 2010 state election, when about 357,000 people voted.

A whopping 126 candidates across the state's five electorates are competing for one of 25 positions in the House of Assembly, the lower house of the Tasmanian Parliament.

Five candidates from each electorate will claim a seat in the lower house.

The current configuration of the House of Assembly sees the Labor Party and Liberal Party holding 10 seats each and the Greens holding five seats.

Voters can take their pick on where to cast their vote today, with 305 polling places spread out across the state.


All polling places open at 8am and close at 6pm.

Election rolls for all five divisions will be available at every location.

First preferences will be counted immediately after the polls close, before results are phoned through to a tally room in the state's South.

Almost all election night figures will be received by 9pm.

The figures should indicate who is likely to be elected and which party is likely to form government.

The final configuration of elected candidates as well as the number of seats won by each party may not be known for several weeks.

Getting in early 

This year's state election has seen a massive surge in early votes.

More than 18,000 people had voted at a pre-polling centre by Thursday evening.

The number of people who cast their vote yesterday, the final day of pre-polling, will not be known until later this morning.

But Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner Julian Type said the total number of people who voted at a pre-polling centre could top 25,000.

The figure flagged by Mr Type is almost double the last state election, when 13,000 people voted early.

``All of our pre-poll centres have done an extremely brisk trade,'' Mr Type said.

``There has definitely been a big rise on pre-polling during this election, and numbers climbed rapidly as we drew closer to voting day.''

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission emailed express votes to more than 1200 voters in remote parts of Australia and overseas over the past few weeks.

The digital ballot papers and declaration forms were sent to 87 countries, with the US, the United Kingdom and New Zealand the most common international destinations.

Mr Type said that in contrast to the number of pre-polling and express votes lodged, postal votes had decreased slightly.

``More and more people are turning to voting in person at electoral offices rather than engaging with the postal vote system,'' he said.

``It's a trend we're certainly seeing interstate and overseas  too.''

Timing your run 

Tasmania's 305 polling places are highly likely to be extremely busy this morning, Mr Type said.

Mr Type said about half of Tasmanians voting today would do so before noon.

``Recent experience suggests the busiest time of the day is the morning and the quietest is later in the afternoon,'' he said.

``If you don't want to wait in a queue, you're best to leave it until later in the day. Just make sure you don't forget to vote.''

About 4500 voters have signed up to receive a free text message at 3pm today reminding them to cast their vote before the 6pm cut-off time.

At least 3000 fines were issued in the 2010 state election to those who failed to vote.

Mr Type said the last thing the Tasmanian Electoral Commission wanted to do was penalise people.

``I would hope every eligible Tasmania turns out to vote,'' he said.

Counting the votes 

Of the 2000-strong staff base working at polling places across the state today, about 500 are doing so for the first time.

Staff will count votes on location, with results rung through to the tally room throughout the evening.

Mr Best said fairly accurate indicative figures on how the polls were placed would be made available shortly after 9pm.

Included in the votes counted today will be regular, pre-poll, postal and express votes.

Out Of Division votes (those cast by people voting outside the boundaries of their electorate) will be tallied tomorrow.

An additional 10 days is allowed for postal votes to return from interstate and overseas.

From Monday onward, a team of 25 staff from each electorate will count all remaining votes and undertake two full rechecks of every ballot paper from all polling places.

Pre-poll officer Judith Reid with Steven Goldsmith, of Lanena, at the Launceston pre-poll office in George Street. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

Pre-poll officer Judith Reid with Steven Goldsmith, of Lanena, at the Launceston pre-poll office in George Street. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

All votes will then face the scrutiny of the Hare-Clarke system before successful candidates are formally announced.


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