Early voting stats point to turnout levels tomorrow


The AEC publishes daily updates of how many people have voted pre-poll, and have requested a postal ballot (which is not strictly the same as someone voting), and you can use this data to get a sense of the rates of early voting.

We’ve had a strong trend of increasing pre-poll voting at recent elections at all levels of government, but that trend hasn’t been consistent in every seat. This first table shows the breakdown of vote by type in the five by-election seats in 2016.


Longman looks very different to the other seats, with almost one third of votes cast as pre-poll votes, and a slightly higher postal vote, resulting in barely half of the vote being cast as an ordinary election day vote.

So a higher pre-poll vote in Longman is expected, but the trend (as compared to last time) can be interesting.

This table shows the equivalent counts up to the last comparable point (Thursday for pre-poll, and Wednesday for postals).

Seat2016 prepoll2018 prepoll2016 postal2018 postalPrepoll changePostal change

This is pretty convincing evidence that we should expect a big drop in turnout in the two WA by-elections, but wouldn’t expect much (if any) drop in the other three.

The pre-poll vote has increased substantially in Braddon, Longman and Mayo, while it has crashed in Fremantle and Perth. The postal vote has dropped slightly in Longman but there have been substantial increases in these categories in Braddon and Longman.

This isn’t a thorough blog post, but I thought readers would be interested. I’ll see you for more coverage tomorrow night.

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  1. I think all elections should be postal voting. Queing on election day or visiting pre-polling is old fashioned, takes time, has parking problems (finding a space or getting booked by council staff) and it can be in the rain, wind or heat too.

  2. You think we should modernise by switching to all-postal voting?

    Bizarre to think that it’s not “modern” to do something in person and have to deal with, gasp, weather! Over a three week period!

    The comment about parking is also strange. Even when I lived on the edge of suburbia I was a short stroll from a polling place. Anywhere with enough density to have parking difficulties will have booths within easy walk, you shouldn’t have to drive. And if you do have to drive you should be able to find a quiet booth with a short walk to a park.

  3. Vote after lunch. There is a quiet time in most booths around afternoon tea time.

    I think voter engagement would drop if the default way of voting was postal. Our local council elections are all-postal, and do not have the intensity of actually going to a polling booth.

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