Election day thread


Polls have just opened on the east coast in the 2019 Australian federal election. The handful of Australians who are yet to cast a pre-poll vote will be voting today in an election expected to be relatively close.

The latest polls have Labor in the lead, but not by much. The most recent Ipsos and Galaxy polls both give Labor 51% of the two-party-preferred vote, with Essential on 51.5%. Finally Newspoll has given a small boost to Labor, giving them 51.5% of the 2PP vote.

Approximately 4.76 million people have cast a pre-poll vote, with about 700,000 having voted on Friday. This is an increase of almost 50% compared to 2016, and it will likely translate into more than 30% of votes being cast at pre-poll.

I probably won’t be posting anything during the day today, but please use this as an open thread. I’ll be back tonight with a results thread, although it will only be updated occasionally (maybe once an hour). I will also be contributing to the Guardian’s election night coverage.

If you are looking for something to read today, I recommend you check out my complete guide to the federal election, including profiles of all 151 House of Representatives seats and the 8 Senate races.

One other thing I’d like to plug is my Patreon which supports this website. I’ve only been able to do what I did over the last year, covering three major elections in detail while running a fortnightly podcast, thanks to the hundred-or-so donors who give their support on a monthly basis.

After this election we’ll be entering a bit of a quiet period for elections in this country, but there’ll be a lot to do preparing for elections in 2020 – I’m planning full guides to the Brisbane City Council election in March, Territory elections in August and October, Sydney local government elections in September, and the Queensland state election in October, while covering the upcoming redistributions and finding a new focus for the podcast post-election.

And if I can get to 150 donors I’m looking to start a spinoff podcast on election history. So if you’ve found this website valuable during this campaign, please sign up.

Liked it? Take a second to support the Tally Room on Patreon!


  1. Polls aren’t close 51.5 on 2 party preferred is a convincing lead.

    Whats the best way to keep an eye on the election from overseas tonight. Looks like I cant just watch the ABC.

  2. As long as you have internet access, the ABC website usually has a great tracker which measures the swing & prediction in each seat as the results come in. The AEC Tallyroom is good for more detail too (results by polling booth).

  3. Barrie Cassidy has it that labor insiders thinks worse case scenario is 77 seats and libs insiders think best case scenario is 71, so seems like we are set for a change of government tonight.

  4. Andrew, last November I watched the state election from the United States via ABC News 24 Live stream on YouTube.

  5. Still spooked by ‘98, ‘01 and ‘04, me…just don’t quite trust that any national swing is going to translate evenly and sufficiently into the full swag of Melb/Bris metro seats needed to overcome what I suspect will be a series of sandbagging, under-the-poll-radar, Scott-the-Everyman-to-everyone, backlash-to-the-backlash seat-swings elsewhere.

    Bracing for a long night, a hung parly and then a handful of new Indies who for all the hubbub will end up backing in a minority Coalition government. With the added joyous bonus of Palmer defaming everyone from the safety of the Senate. Hooray, #threemoreyearsofparalysedinanity!

    Hope I’m too paranoid for my own good 🙂

    Thanks for a terrific site, Ben.

  6. Trent, the AEC website doesn’t usually publish the polling place data on their website on the night (although it is in the media feed).

  7. Watching ABC News 24 where voting was discussed but so what if the 4 million prepoll votes may take a bit longer to count as I understand the government is still in caretaker mode until the result is known. ABC TV was interviewing an expert who explained the risk of electronic voting too which I agree with. There nothing better and fool proof than our votes on a paper ballot paper.

  8. After the 2016 US election hacking issues who would seriously propose electronic voting? There’s other advantages apart from security with in person, paper voting. People have to make an effort every 3 years to go and vote, they need to a least briefly think and reflect on their choice. That physical effort is reflective of the social contract between citizens and their state. It also promotes a degree of community in people gathering to vote and interacting with other voters and party reps. Breif Discussions can also be had on issues of voters importance.

    Too many make ill considered, quick reactions on electronic devices – highlighted by the number of candidates who resigned due to previous social media posts. Electronic voting would be conducive to the same tendencies and continue the trend of voters not informing themselves of policy before voting…where it exists. The request if perhaps also reflective of a trend in the app age where people expect easy options and instant results. You see this where some people express surprise ( see 2010 & 2016) when results are not known for a seat on election night or by Monday, as if we never previously had uncertainty before in seat results. They view waiting 10 days as some inordinate, arduous excercise.

    Without sounding too romantic, there is a degree of important symbolism and institutional sacredness in the physical act of walking into a ballot box that should not be lost.

  9. The Greens have certainly put some thought into the people they appointed to staff the Labor stronghold booths in the northern part of Wills.
    I went to three booths today and the Greens had Italian, Turkish and Arabic speakers at each of them.
    This is a stark contrast to 2016 when they bused in the kids from La Trobe and Melbourne university campuses.
    I didn’t notice the Greens doing anything special in these neighbourhoods during the campaign, but the party seems to be learning – albeit slowly – that it needs to speak directly to migrant voters north of Bell Street.
    Who knows, Khalil might be in for a shock in a few hours.

  10. I fully support your comments on the dangers of electronic voting, Adrian Jackson.
    We’ve already had major problems in cases where online voting has been used in Australia.
    Adopting online voting also risks the principle of the Secret Ballot, now that more government agencies are permitted to record and monitor our movements on the Web.

  11. Online and electronic voting are too very different things. They shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

    I think if you genuinely want to reduce the informal vote further here is an option to consider.

    At a prepoll booth and only there, an ipad like device with the house of reps paper. It asks a question for first, second and so on preference.

    Then it displays the completed paper and ask the voter to confirm. The paper is then printed and the voter puts it into the ballot box. The paper can be checked against the electronic record.

  12. Papillions your post on Election Day at 12.20pm is proof that risk aversion and fear are sometimes the most useful instincts ahead of national elections in this country.
    Your are a prophet.
    Your fear-drenched forecasting was completely on the money.

  13. Gives me no pleasure at all, NC. Happy to have been wrong about Palmer, too. Some key lessons, imo:

    1. The tax package will get most of the blame but that will miss the point I think.

    2. To win government you must – MUST – grasp the fact that most Australians actually vote on social issues. We all say it’s our hip pocket that matters most but deep down we hate being lectured from a moralistic platform that doesn’t match ours. In electoral terms that means progressive parties have to learn to stop preaching so stridently to the converted in the electorates they’re going to win anyway. Labor need to study the huge swings against them in their own safe urban belt electorates, and stare long and hard into the wasteland that Queensland has become for them. The high ON and UAP vote wasn’t ‘for’ Adani and franked divvie credits, imo, as much as it was against the state-driven imposition of a top down ‘moral consensus’ of the enlightened.

    3. The modern reality TV 24-7 social media era demands a ‘relatable’ leader. You won’t win government unless your guy is preferred PM, or at least close to it.

    4. Lots of voters still believe in god. Lots of highly intelligent, very decent people, at that. Get the hell used to it. Make yourself understand why.

    5. If you’re a progressive, don’t back away from it. Double down and go harder, bigger, better, and smarter. Labor should be proud of its ambition and not disown it.

    Tough day at the office for the True Believers though, for sure. Penny Wong – and Arthur Sinodinos for that matter – magnificent on the ABC, I thought. Consolation – again, just my hunch – in that now with Abbott gone and ScoMo’s authority huge and likely facing the immovable objects of pro-action Indies in parly (and certainly at least electorally, in huge number…albeit again not distributed usefully enough for Labor), we’re actually more likely to get real movement on energy/emissions/CC. Probably only the LNP will/could ever be able to break coal’s electoral stranglehold…and the economic tipping point has occurred. Let’s face it, ScoMo will need some kind of growth agenda once the ‘surplus’ and his tax cuts have evaporated – in about two fiscal quarters’ time, I reckon…!

    Onwards and upwards, good ship Oz…:-/

    Thanks again for the site Ben.

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