BCC – postal voting down, but pre-poll voting holds its own


Now that we have the final results for the Brisbane City Council election, we can assess how people chose to cast their votes, and how that fits into the historical trend.

A slow decline in election-day voting accelerated dramatically in 2020, with the election held in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was some bounceback in election-day voting in 2024, but this wasn’t due to a decline in pre-poll voting. Indeed a new record was set, with the number of pre-poll votes slightly exceeding the 2020 figure.

This chart shows the vote type figures as a share of turnout, not a share of enrolment, so it’ll look slightly different to the pre-election figures.

The number of ordinary votes increased from 26% to 43%. The increase in absent votes in 2020 was mostly reversed. This means that about 51.5% cast an election day vote, compared to 46% in 2020.

Postal votes increased from 12.2% in 2016 to 23.9% in 2020, but has dropped back to 18%. That is still much higher than the pre-COVID figures.

Pre-poll voting had increased from 13.2% in 2016 to 28.8% in 2020, and this year it was 29.6%.

The Brisbane City election was the first major jurisdiction to hold a second election since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It fits with a trend where there has been some reversion to election day voting, but only partially. The long-term trend of voters choosing to vote early (more so by casting a pre-poll vote in person rather than a postal vote) was accelerated by COVID, but it didn’t start or end with the pandemic.

There was also an increase in total turnout compared to 2020.

Turnout had been on a downward trend since 2008, dropping to under 80% in 2020. This year it spiked back up to 84.8%, which is the highest turnout level since 2008.

Tomorrow I’m going to return to Brisbane City one more time to look at a particular issue with the results – the failure to return absent mayoral ballots to the correct ward.

I also plan to analyse the vote type trends for the Tasmanian state election later this week.

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


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here