A Writ is the legal instrument or official document authorising an election to be held for representatives to serve in the Parliament. In South Australia, Writs are issued for:
- Legislative Council and House of Assembly general elections
- House of Assembly by-elections for casual vacancies caused by the death or resignation of a member, or for another reason (see the By-elections page for more information).
The Writ outlines the timeframe for the election, including deadlines for:
- Enrolling to vote
- Lodging nominations
- The Writ to be returned
The Writ fixes a day for polling day (if there are more nominations than vacancies).
The dates can be deferred in certain circumstances, but by no more than 21 days. Beyond that date, or if an election partially or wholly fails, a new Writ must be issued.
The Electoral Act 1985 allows one multi-district Writ to be issued authorising general elections in all House of Assembly districts. Previously, separate Writs were issued for each district election.
Individual Writs continue to be issued for the Legislative Council election and any lower house by-election. The Electoral Act 1985 also introduced a separate date for the close of the electoral rolls following Writ issue.
Amendments to the Electoral Act 1985 introduced in 2013 require that for general elections the Writ must be issued 28 days before the date fixed for polling.