WA 2021 – early voting opens


Early voting will open on Wednesday in the Western Australian state election, with pre-poll voting open for the better part of three weeks.

Over the last year we have seen radical changes in the way people choose to cast their ballots amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. I have chronicled this story at the Covid-19 tag on this website.

We have experienced two federal by-elections, one state election, two territory elections and council elections in Queensland (which is traditionally attendance-based) and Victoria (where postal voting is universal).

There is no evidence that Covid-19 is currently circulating in Western Australia, and there has only been one small quarantine leak recently, but I still expect there to be some change in voter behaviour.

I’ve recently expanded my data repository to include data from the 2001, 2005 and 2008 Western Australian state elections (thanks to Armarium Interreta for help compiling the booth-level data). The datasets do not yet include the upper house results, and I am yet to add latitudes and longitudes for the booths, but there’s enough in there to calculate the share of votes cast by voting method for each of the last five elections:

It’s worth noting that ordinary election-day voting has held up better in Western Australia than in other jurisdictions. Check out similar posts I’ve done about Queensland, the ACT, the NT, New South Wales, Victoria and federal elections.

The proportion of ordinary votes in Western Australia in 2017 was similar to most other jurisdictions, although at the higher end.

I expect we’ll see a boost in pre-poll voting, and likely in postal voting too, and I’ll keep track if I can get data from the Electoral Commission over the next three weeks.

CORRECTION: This post originally said that voting opened on Monday. Apologies for that error.

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