NSW council election turnout, mapped


This is the last in my series of posts looking at various trends in NSW council elections.

I wrote recently about how poor turnout is for Western Australia’s voluntary council elections, but other states tend to have higher levels. Turnout for the 2016 Brisbane City Council election (the most recent I have data for) was slightly higher than NSW, at 83.7%. The 2020 Victorian council elections had an average turnout of 81.4%, apparently the “highest ever”.

I calculated turnout rates for the 2012 council election and the 2016-17 elections. I was a little bit interested as to whether the splitting of the elections across two years had an impact on turnout in 2016-17. I ignored any ward which was uncontested, and I ignored mayoral elections.

In 2012, the turnout was 82.7%. This dropped to 79.7% in 2016-17. This isn’t much of a trend but it will be interesting to see which way the rate goes in 2021.

I haven’t had a chance to properly line up each council’s turnout rates, considering how amalgamations changed the council map between the two election cycles. But I’ve mapped them out on the below map – check it out and let me know what you find in the comments?

In particular I wanted to draw attention to the City of Sydney. The City already had a relatively low turnout at 69% in 2012. The number of enrolled voters shot up by 39% between 2012 and 2016, but there was a much smaller increase in votes cast, which resulted in the turnout rate dropping just below 60%. I suspect this was caused by the law change that pushed more non-residents onto the electoral roll.

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  1. One statistic I will be watching is the impact of not being able to hand out “how to vote” at many polling places. We have the stats from 2017 showing what happens with both letterboxing and how to vote on the day. This time there will be polling places where voters will only have their letterbox deliveries and others, where the entrance is 100m from the booth, that will have handouts as well.

  2. Yes not being able to use the HTV info is a problem, we are having lots of people getting mad about not having any info, so many just will vote informal. I have walked 101 metres to give out Voting info to a number of people.
    That is what we are seeing at SWR. The iVote should have been advertised better and people should have been able to use it if they felt uncomfortable attending a Polling Booth due to Covid-19.

  3. Interesting that the Liberal Party in the Sutherland Shire are using purple coloured HTV signs. Very odd.

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