December 2019

How the 2019 UK Election Count Will Unfold

Australians following the UK election count on Friday (Australian time) will be watching a process that is familiar in broad outline, but strangely alien in detail.

The electoral systems of Australia and the United Kingdom may have a mid-19th century common ancestor, but elections in the two countries have since evolved into separate species.

The UK’s electoral processes are essential unchanged since 1918, the first UK election held with manhood suffrage and a single day for polling.

In Australia election night is about analysing the results of individual polling places as they report their results, unpicking the figures to work out the winner.

In the United Kingdom there are no progressive results. Results in the 650 constituencies will revealed as final figures, one by one, through the night with every constituency declared by lunchtime on Friday.

Early on it is all about the exit poll, theatrically revealed as the clock strikes 10pm. From then it is a process of modifying the prediction based on early declarations until there enough results from various parts of the country to confirm or overturn the exit poll prediction.
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The Growing Weight of Country and Remote Votes in the WA Legislative Council

In my last post I published an analysis of the new state electoral boundaries for Western Australia. The boundaries were drawn on one-vote one-value principles, a signature reform introduced by the Gallop government in 2005, and one that helped deliver Labor a record majority at the 2017 election. (see this post)

The unfinished business of the 2005 reforms was the Legislative Council. One-vote one-value only applied to the Legislative Assembly, the state’s lower house. It undid a two-to-oneĀ  weighting against Perth that had applied since 1989, but left in place a three-to-one weighting in the Legislative Council, the state’s upper house.

In 2005, Labor and the Greens could not agree on a reform model for the Legislative Council. As part of the deal for lower house reform, the Greens wanted the existing six regions retained, but with six member per region instead of the existing five and seven member regions. This left in place the three-to-one weight against Perth, but added a new bias to the system by increasing the weight of votes in Agricultural Region and Mining and Pastoral Region at the expense of South West Region. At the 2017 election, a vote in Mining and Pastoral Region carried seven times the weight of a vote in Perth, a weighting that can only increase at future elections.

Read More »The Growing Weight of Country and Remote Votes in the WA Legislative Council