What happens on election night
On election night, polling place managers (in their capacity as assistant Returning Officers) will sort and count all ordinary votes taken during the day at their polling place. They will forward to their district Returning Officer, the first preference count for each candidate contesting that Legislative Assembly seat, a two candidate preferred count (i.e. a notional distribution), and finally for the Legislative Council the above the line first preference party, group or independent candidate votes.
Returning Officers will then check these numbers before sending them to the Commission for posting to the election results website and forwarding to media outlets that will be taking a live data feed. These progressively updated indicative results are what candidates, parties and the Western Australian community see on election night. The Commission will also provide some early voting results data for the Legislative Assembly as counting of these votes proceeds at the Count Centre after polling closes at 6:00pm.
It should be noted that the Commission reserves the right to not post to the internet two candidate preferred results, where there is a close three-way contest or a candidate not selected for this indicative count (and advised to polling place managers) proves to attract more votes than expected.