Tracking the Early Vote for the 2022 Federal Election

Daily updated post tracking the rates of postal and pre-poll voting compared to previous elections.

State and territory elections over the last two years have seen a huge increase in both pre-poll and postal voting. I’ve written a number of posts on trends at those elections. I’ll include some relevant links at the end of this post.

The time between close of nominations and polling day is one week longer in 2022 compared to 2019, four weeks versus three weeks. In contrast, a change in the law means that pre-poll voting will be one week shorter in 2022, confined to only two weeks rather than the three weeks allowed at previous elections. The change means that where in 2019 pre-poll voting and postal voting started at the same time, in 2022 there have been two weeks for parties to flood the electorate with postal vote applications before the start of pre-poll voting.

Summary Postal Vote Statistics as at the end of Saturday 14 May

  • A total of 2,534,788 postal vote applications had been received representing 14.7% of enrolment. This compares to 1,538,139 in 2019 or 9.4% of enrolment.
  • 1,015,493 postal votes have been returned representing 5.9% of enrolment or 40.1% of dispatched postal vote packs.
  • In 2019 84.0% of postal votes dispatched were returned, though 3% postals did not make it through scrutiny so only 81.0% of postal votes dispatched made it into the count.
  • Postal votes admitted to the count in 2019 represented 7.6% of enrolment, or 8.2% of votes. (Based on House ballot papers admitted.)

Summary Pre-Poll Statistice –

  • Pre-polls to date are 1,988,999 compared to 2,203,077 at the same time in 2019, though there have been five fewer days of pre-polling in 2022 because of the change in the law. See graphs below. Pre-polls currently represent 11.5% of enrolled voters compared to 13.4% at the equivalent date in the second week of pre-polling in 2019.
  • Pre-poll figures for both 2019 and 2022 are of all pre-polls issued at early voting centres so includes both within district ordinary pre-polls and out of district pre-poll declaration. Based on 2019 experience, most pre-polls will be within district pre-polls.
  • There were 4,908,831 pre-poll votes in 2019 representing 29.9% of enrolment or 32.5% of votes counted.
  • In 2019 there were 4,288,451 House votes cast as pre-poll ordinaries, that is at a polling place for the voter’s home division. These represented 28.4% of votes counted.
  • There were another 620,380 House votes cast as pre-poll declaration, largely pre-poll absents cast outside of division, representing 4.1% of votes counted.

Read More »Tracking the Early Vote for the 2022 Federal Election

SA 2022 – Legislative Council Result Finalised

The last count for the South Australian election was finalised today with the distribution of preferences for the Legislative Council.

Several weeks of scanning and data entry have turned all the LC ballot papers into electronic records. Today the records were fed into the SA Electoral Commission’s preference distribution software to determine the winning candidates.

Details on the count are provided in the post.

Update: – some overall numbers on how voters completed their ballot papers.

  • Above-the-line with only a first preference – 62.7%
  • Above-the-line TL with preferences – 31.1%
  • Below the line – 6.2%

The above figures are derived from batching for ballot paper scanning. The detailed table of results below has 6.1% for below the line votes. The discrepancy is due to below the line votes that were informal or reverted to above the line votes after applying formality checks.
Read More »SA 2022 – Legislative Council Result Finalised

2022 Federal Election Date Named plus links to my Election Guide

So the 2022 Australian federal election will be held on Saturday 21 May. That’s three years to the weekend since the last election.

The wild theories that the Prime Minister would delay the House election until later in the year proved to be, as expected, completely wrong.

The relevant dates for the election are:

Dissolution and Issue of Writs – tomorrow, Monday 11 April

Close of Rolls – Monday 18 April. This is Easter Monday so the Easter break will complicate people trying to enrol or update their details. You can find the AEC’s new enrolment page here, and update enrolment form here.

Close of Nominations – Thursday 21 April. Ballot draw and release of nominations will be on Friday 22 April. Postal votes will not be sent to voters until after the close of nominations, which means after the Anzac Day weekend.

Postal Vote ApplicationsCan be applied for now through the AEC website. You must apply for a postal vote by Wednesday 18 May, but you are better applying well before the close of application date if you hope to receive your postal vote pack before polling day.

Pre-poll-Voting begins – Monday 9 May. Note that the Electoral Act has been changed since 2019 to shorten pre-poll voting to two weeks instead of three.

Polling Day – Saturday 21 May.

The election period is six weeks instead of the usual five. This means there are four weeks between close of nominations and polling day. With pre-poll voting now limited to two weeks, people cannot vote in person until four weeks into the election campaign.

However, it is likely that political parties will flood the electorate with postal vote applications in the two weeks before pre-poll starts encourage people to vote by post. Read my notes on postal voting inside this port.

Inside the post I also include links to my background material on the 2022 Federal election at the ABC election website.
Read More »2022 Federal Election Date Named plus links to my Election Guide

Loophole allows Liberal Democrats to Retain their Party Name

(7:15pm – this post has been updated to clarify some points of law.)

Last year Labor and the Coalition combined to pass legislation that prevented parties from having registered names that were too similar to those of already registered parties.

It was clear the target of the legislation was the Liberal Democratic Party. Last November, after applications by the Liberal and Labor Parties, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) gave notice that the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Labour Party would be de-registered if they did not change their names.

The full 3-person Australian Electoral Commission confirmed the original de-registration notice from November on 9 February., so the Liberal Democrats were de-registered under their existing name.

On 9 March the High Court upheld the new law by which the party had been de-registered. It looked like game, set and match for the Liberal Democrats.

But no, the Liberal Democrats are free to contest the 2022 election under the name Liberal Democrats despite the law and despite the High Court.

It all comes down to a clever loophole in the law that someone in the party spotted.
Read More »Loophole allows Liberal Democrats to Retain their Party Name

2022 SA Legislative Council Result

Update on when the count will finish – While the lower house count is complete, the time-consuming scanning of Legislative Council ballot papers takes time. The button push for the distribution of preferences is expected around the Anzac Day weekend.

Update: With every vote now counted, there are some slight changes to the partial quota values. One Nation is 0.51, Labor 0.42, LDP 0.39, Family First 0.37. I still stick to my view in the post that Labor’s position will improve with scrutiny of BTL votes, with preference flows from the Greens, Animal Justice and Legalise Cannabis, and with the general leakage of preferences to the larger parties. But there is a chance the gap could close if there are any significant preference flows between the LDP and Family First. And there is still a chance that order could alter.

Original Post Follows

With the lower house counts being finalised today, it is time to take a closer look at the upper house election for the Legislative Council (LC).

Almost all Legislative Council first preference votes have been counted. The process of scanning and data entering ballot papers is underway. Once that is completed, the distribution of preferences will be undertaken very quickly by computer.

Nine seats are clear, electing four Labor MLCs, four Liberals and one Green. The final two seats look likely to go a fifth Labor MLC and the state’s first One Nation MLC.

If the election finishes as set out in the previous paragraph, the new Legislative Council will be 9 Labor, 8 Liberal, 2 Greens, 2 SA Best and a One Nation member. Assuming Labor appoints a President, then Labor would need the votes of three of the five cross bench members to pass legislation.
Read More »2022 SA Legislative Council Result

2022 SA Election – Pre-Poll and Postal Voting Rates

The final figures for pre-poll and postal votes were as follows –

  • 29.9% of enrolled voters have either applied for a postal vote or cast a pre-poll vote.
  • 208,136 pre-poll votes have been cast representing 16.4% of enrolment. This is a 75% increase on the 120,468 pre-polls taken in 2018 representing 10.0% of enrolment. There were 35,820 on the final Friday of pre-polling.
  • There were 170,081 postal vote applications including around 25,000 permanent postal voters. This is twice the 82,213 applications in 2018 (not including 20,00 permanent postal votes) representing 6.8% of enrolment. Voters in Covid isolation can collect a postal vote pack from Covid testing centres which may add a few thousand extra postal votes.

Unlike every other Australian jurisdiction, Pre-Poll and Postal votes cannot be counted on election night in South Australia. The higher the rate of pre-poll and postal voting, the fewer the votes available for counting on election night and the lower the likelihood we will know the winners on election night.

In this post I explain the rate of pre-poll and postal voting at previous South Australian elections. I also provide charts of the rate of pre-poll voting by day, and the rate of postal and pre-poll voting by electoral district.

Most urban electorates should record a 50-60% vote count on election night which should be enough to call most seats. The seat with the lowest on the day vote will include Finniss (35%), Mount Gambier (45%), and Hartley, Colton, Stuart and Hammond under 50%.
Read More »2022 SA Election – Pre-Poll and Postal Voting Rates

SA Election Preference Recommendations

A unique feature of South Australian elections is that registered how-to-vote material for lower house seats is displayed in front of voters in the partitions where votes are completed. I explained how this works in a previous post.

These preference sheets have been released for use in pre-poll voting. Below I summarise the preference recommendations in important seats.

You can find the how-to-votes for each district on the Electoral Commission SA website.

I’ve also published the Legislative Council recommendations. The posters for these are displayed in polling places but not placed inside the voting partition. You can find the Legislative Council tickets on my ABC election site and I hope to publish more on the LC preferences later this week. Some information on how the 2018 preference count unfolded is included in my Legislative Council Preview, again on the ABC site.

The problems for most minor political parties is a lack of volunteers to hand out how-to-vote material outside polling places. This disadvantage is lessened in South Australia by the display of the how-to-vote recommendations.

For instance, Family First for many years issued how-to-votes with preferences to Labor candidates in a small number of seats, mainly those associated with the conservative SDA union. Preferences in these seats were more likely to flow to Labor rather than the Liberal Party. It was a difference in preference flows rarely seen at Federal elections where influencing voters with how-to-vote relies on volunteers handing them to voters.

Family First was absorbed by the Australian Conservatives for the 2018 South Australian election, but continued with the practice of favouring selected Labor candidates with preference recommendations. In 26 seats Conservative preferences were recommended to the Liberal Party and flowed 77% in that direction. The five seats favouring Labor split evenly, only 51.5% to the Liberal Party, and the two seats with split how-to-votes flowed only 67% to the Liberal Party. They are remarkable differences in preference flows compared to flows at Federal elections.

Here’s the preference recommendation summary in key seats.
Read More »SA Election Preference Recommendations

Why the 2022 House and Senate Elections will be held on the same day

Last year I wrote a post on possible elections dates. In the post I wrote “There is a highly improbable option for a half-Senate election by 21 May 2022 and a separate House election as late as 3 September 2022.”

This improbable option keeps being re-cycled as a real possibility.

It isn’t.

If the government doesn’t call a May election for the House in conjunction with the required half-Senate election, it would be an admission by the government that it is too frit to face the electorate. There is no constitutional or public administration reason to hold separate elections for the House and half-Senate in 2022. Separating the elections would be because the government saw some electoral benefit.

In my view there is no benefit for the government in splitting the elections. In fact, splitting the election would be a terrible re-election strategy. Forcing the electorate to vote twice at most only 15 weeks apart would be deeply deeply unpopular and almost guarantee the government’s defeat.

No Australian Prime Minister has ever called a separate half-Senate election at a time when a House election was due. No Prime Minister has ever delayed a House election beyond its normal term by creating two elections 15 weeks apart. Prime Minister Morrison is not going to the first Prime Minister to engage in the folly of splitting the two elections in this way. He didn’t do it in 2019 and he is not going to do it in 2022.

The only people peddling this split election nonsense are people on twitter who hate the government. Splitting the elections would guarantee defeat. The government is not going to select the option that is its worst possible option for winning re-election.

So having vented my irritation that this nonsense is still being peddled, let me explain why the elections can be split.Read More »Why the 2022 House and Senate Elections will be held on the same day