The Sydney Morning Herald published an article this afternoon claiming that the recent federal election had “one of the lowest voter turnouts” in the last century. Further down the authors claim that the turnout is “on track to be lower than the 2016 election”, despite acknowledging that this is partly due to the record high enrolment rate bringing in a larger proportion of the eligible population than ever before.
I was planning to write a post explaining why this is misleading, that while it may be true that the proportion of the roll to have cast a vote may have gone down, you can’t spin a story about voters becoming disengaged while the proportion of the eligible population who have voted has been steadily increasing.
Yet it turns out that no such nuance is needed, because even the basic fact at the core of the article is false. Updated statistics tonight reveal that the turnout at this election is about to surpass the 2016 election, with more votes yet to be counted.
Yes there are reasons to be concerned about voters’ “disengagement”, but it is false to claim that the number of Australians who are voting is dropping.