NSW by-elections live


11:56pm – I’m going to finish up here. I was hoping to get some more pre-poll figures from Bega but I expect that could take a while longer. Hopefully in the morning we will have more data and I can do a post then.

Overall Labor has done well in the two south-eastern seats, although we’ll need the full picture to be able to know how big the swing has been. Overall Strathfield is looking to be even, which makes it the brightest spot for the government. Willoughby also looks likely to be a close-run thing. The Liberal Party should hold on, but it’s still a bit early to say.

This election night has been made a lot more difficult because of a collapse in the ordinary election-day vote, and what looks likely to be a very high rate of postal voting.

I will be back in the morning with a summary post, hopefully including more pre-poll votes.

11:08pm – Here’s an updated version of that earlier chart. You can see that most pre-poll booths from Monaro and Strathfield (and all of Willoughby) have reported. But there’s a lot to come tonight from Bega.

Assumed turnout84.884.184.284.5
Ordinary total18.420.720.723.1
Pre-poll total29.423.116.39.6
Pre-poll reported so far7.219.310.49.6
Others (so far)
Postal (minimum)21.315.326.428.1
Uncounted pre-poll votes13,0942,1983,2260
Potential postal/other votes21,71723,41026,09328,533
2CP lead1,9092,0731,324NA

10:15pm – We now have all of the pre-poll primary votes reported from Willoughby and the pattern is similar as it was on election day. We also have the first pre-poll booth in Strathfield and it saw a 9.8% swing against Labor.

8:36pm – The last ordinary election day booths have now reported, which means we can estimate how much of the turnout came in today. All of the percentages in this section are based on the number of total votes as a share of enrolment, not the final vote count, since we don’t know what that will be.

The NSWEC has been reported daily figures on the number of postal votes have been returned so far and the number of pre-poll votes cast. The postal figure is incomplete since postal votes can still come in over the next two weeks, but the pre-poll vote is final. I have assumed a 5% decline in turnout in each seat compared to 2019. With this information we can calculate how many pre-poll votes are yet to be counted and the potential number of postal and other votes (mostly postal) that are due to be counted, as a share of enrolment, and turn those figures into a raw number.

Just 18.4% of electors in Bega cast an ordinary vote today. The figures in the other seats are 20.7% in Monaro and Strathfield and 23.1% in Willoughby.

Pre-poll votes were highest in Bega, at 29.4%, compared to 23.1% in Monaro, 16.3% in Strathfield and 9.6% in Willoughby.

I’m thus assuming that there is more potential postal/other votes to be counted in Monaro than in Bega, but Bega is yet to report a single pre-poll vote.

Assumed turnout84.884.184.284.5
Ordinary total18.420.720.723.1
Pre-poll total29.423.116.39.6
Pre-poll reported so far0.
Others (so far)
Postal (minimum)21.315.326.428.1
Uncounted pre-poll17,34210,2068,9932,317
Potential postal/other21,71723,41426,09328,533

8:22pm – We now have the primary vote results from almost every election day booth in the four seats. We’re missing one booth in Bega, one in Monaro and one in Willoughby. This is relevant because it makes it possible for us to calculate how much of the vote is left unaccounted for once we add up the number of postal votes returned so far, the number of pre-poll votes recorded and the number of ordinary votes counted so far. I’ll be coming back with some calculations on that point soon.

7:50pm – Sorry I’m not posting much in the way of updates. Voting figures are largely looking similar at the moment but I’m preparing to try and run some estimates on the size of the postal vote, and thus how much of the vote would be needed to overturn the leaders at the end of the night. It still looks like Labor has won Strathfield, is leading in Bega, probably has lost Monaro, and the Liberal Party is leading in Willoughby.

7:23pm – I’m not running my own booth-matching program tonight, but William Bowe at Poll Bludger and Antony Green at ABC Elections are doing so. William’s is a good choice for the wonk who wants to dive down into all the detail.

William’s figures suggest a 13.8% swing from Liberal to Labor on two-party-preferred figures in Bega, projecting to 56.4% for Labor. That’s very strong, and normally would be enough to call but for now we’d want to have a clearer picture of how many votes might be outstanding.

The same methodology is suggesting an 8.2% swing to Labor in Monaro, which is not enough to win.

Labor has gained a small swing in Strathfield, which should be enough to win.

We have less information in Willoughby, where the two-candidate-preferred count was incorrectly conducted between Liberal and Greens, but the independent is currently 8.5% behind the Greens, which is probably too much to win but not enough to call.

6:43pm – We have five booths reporting from Bega. So far I’ve been able to match four to their 2019 equivalents, and the turnout drops are:

  • Bermagui – 83.8%
  • Merimbula – 59.9%
  • Tanja – 56.8%
  • Towamba – 45.3%

In Monaro:

  • Captains Flat – 41.9%
  • Letchworth – 59.2%
  • Wamboin – 58.6%

In Strathfield:

  • Strathfield South PS – 63.3%

In Willoughby

  • Chatswood Guide Hall – 55.1%

Overall I think we’re going to see the election day turnout fall to just under half of what it was in 2019.

6:36pm – The second Willoughby booth, Chatswood Guide Hall, brings Penn back to earth with 22.1%, trailing the Greens on 23% and the Liberal Party on 39.6%. Still that is a long way short of a majority for the Liberal candidate. Chatswood Guide Hall also had a big decline in turnout, from 508 in 2019 to 228 in 2022. That’s a 55% decline.

6:34pm – I can’t do the same comparison for the first Willoughby booth, but St Mark’s Northbridge is a very good booth for independent Larissa Penn, polling 49.5% compared to 30.1% for the Liberal candidate.

6:30pm – Turnout dropped even more in the first Monaro booth, with Letchworth dropping from 480 votes to 196. That’s a 59% decline.

6:28pm – The first booth has reported in Bega. Towamba Public School had 148 votes in 2019, but only 81 in 2022. That’s a 45% decline in turnout. Labor topped the primary vote with the Liberal Party slightly behind, as was the case in 2019, but both parties have a lower primary vote. I’m not so interested in the candidate results, but that turnout figure is interesting.

6:23pm – Our methods of projecting election results become more difficult when there are major changes in the share of the vote cast by method. Traditionally we can compare the votes in a booth to the results in that booth at the last election, and assume that other categories of votes like postal votes have swung by a similar amount, but the “postal votes” category will contain a much larger group of voters than it did in 2019, and thus we can’t assume those voters will have the same slant relative to the remainder of the electorate. Later tonight we’ll be able to make some rough guesses about how much of the vote is outstanding, and calculate how much of that vote the trailing candidate would need to win, but it will be hard to be sure about any close race.

6:08pm – Polls closed a few minutes ago in four NSW state by-elections in the electorates of Bega, Monaro, Strathfield and Willoughby.

We will be getting results from in-person polling booths, both election day booths and pre-poll, tonight, but we expect a very large share of the vote to be cast as postal votes, most of which will be counted from Wednesday onwards. This means that we can’t expect to know the result of any close by-elections tonight.

Labor is defending one seat while the Coalition is defending three, with particular focus on Labor’s chances in the Coalition seats of Bega and Monaro in the south-eastern corner of New South Wales.

I don’t expect to have much to report until after 7pm, but stay tuned.

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  1. A reminder that none of the candidates for Willoughby ran a serious campaign until about 2 weeks ago. Real missed opportunity for Larissa Penn.

    A good omen for the “Voices of” independents.

  2. Agreed. Larissa Penn must be regretting not going harder with her campaign earlier. I would believe the Strathfield result so far is rather disappointing for Labor given the large swings in the other seats. This should make the Liberals more confident in Reid and the Liberals will definitely target Strathfield in next year’s election. In regards to Bega, Andrew Constance would surely be regretting switching to federal politics now. It’s very likely he won’t win in Gilmore at this stage.

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