Which seats have the highest rates of early voting?

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This is a follow-up to Monday’s blog post, which explored the trends away from election day voting at the federal level, and how those trends have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For this blog post, I’m splitting up the 2019 vote between votes cast on election day and those cast earlier, and looking at which seats have higher rates of early voting.

First up, let’s remix the first chart from Monday’s post to merge together the categories into ‘election day’ and ‘early’. These figures don’t quite add up to 100%, because provisional votes account for between 0.2% and 0.7% of the total and I don’t believe I can say whether provisional votes were cast before or on election day.

The election day vote was almost 90% of all votes in 2001, but by 2019 it had dropped to 57.7% in 2019.

It's hard to imagine that number stays above 50% in 2022, considering recent trends.

Next up, this map shows the proportion of the vote cast early in each electorate in 2019. This is based on my redistributed vote data so it uses the 2022 electoral boundaries in Victoria and Western Australia. This dataset only includes formal votes, so while I would normally use the total turnout, this ignores informal votes.

Lingiari stands out by a wide margin, with 72.9% of the vote cast before election day. About a third of the vote in Lingiari was pre-poll, but another third was cast through remote polling teams in small settlements.

Indeed I did a chart for a blog post last week on diversity of booth results by seat, and Lingiari had the smallest number of ordinary polling places of any electorate in the country.

Hinkler in Queensland ranked second with 63%, and Flinders was third with 60.8%.

33 out of 151 electorates had a majority of their votes cast early. Ballarat was a tie, with neither group having a majority, while the election day vote was the majority in 117 seats.

Moore in Western Australia had the lowest rate of early voting, with 24.8% voting early, followed by Franklin in Tasmania and Adelaide in South Australia. The ten seats with the lowest early voting rates are all in the three smallest states. You have to scroll all the way to Newcastle, which is ranked 33rd for the lowest rate of early voting, to find a seat outside of the three least populous states and suburban Sydney. The early voting rate in Newcastle was 33.5%.

Looking at the map, I see some general trends. Regional Queensland and Victoria appear to have higher rates of early voting than regional New South Wales. Brisbane and Sydney have lower rates of early voting than regional neighbours, but that doesn't appear to be as true of Melbourne.

It also appears that Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have lower rates of early voting, and those trends are true when you sum up the state totals.

StateEarly (%)Election day (%)Unknown (%)
NT60.4339.160.41
VIC48.7350.980.28
QLD48.0351.670.29
ACT43.6556.010.35
NSW37.9461.770.29
SA33.0866.450.47
WA33.0666.450.48
TAS29.1870.490.33

I suspect the differences between states have something to do with how liberal each state is in regards to pre-poll voting. Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia do have higher rates of election day voting, compared to Queensland and the ACT.

That's it for today. I'll be back tomorrow looking at who these different groups of voters cast their vote for.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. As a psephology nerd who likes having post-election data available, I always choose to vote on election day just to make sure my vote counts towards my local booth result and can be used in redistribution data!

  2. As a psephology nerd, I like voting on election day because that’s part of the fun of election day. 😉

  3. I like to vote on election day for both of the reasons just mentioned. Not a fan of the huge move towards people voting early with no valid reason. It should be reserved for people who won’t be able to vote on election day.

  4. As a partisan hack, I used to vote on election day because I’d be there anyway, but I’ve taken to voting early because election day is very busy, and avoiding bringing campaign materials into the polling booth is that much more difficult when you’re wearing them.

  5. I know a lot of people who vote early because they strongly dislike getting hassled by people sticking HTVs in your face. Running the gauntlet got pretty full-on last time…

  6. I deliberately vote early and in random booths to confound psephology nerds. i take every party’s HTV card and make them into paper planes while spreading misinformation about preferential voting to everyone in line

  7. As a psephology nerd, I cannot contain my excitement to vote and thus cannot wait until Election Day and crack usually the week pre-polling opens.

    I mostly still end up at one of the polling places on Election Day anyway. Just for a democracy sausage and to check out the vibes on the ground if any of my mates or family members need someone to go vote with.

  8. I’m planning on voting at my grandson’s new school, as it’s the only way I’m allowed inside the gate. I’ve only ever voted on Election Day – like the others, it’s part of the ritual, and none of the places I vote are ever particularly busy.

    I tried voting early once, but was put off by the queue that wrapped around the block!

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