UPDATE 23 April – One week before the election, 26,000 postal packs have been dispatched with the date for applications now having passed. This is only slightly up on the 24,676 in 2018. 18,000 pre-poll votes have been taken, only half the number in 2018, but the last week of the campaign is when most pre-poll votes are cast.
Rising rates of early voting have been a phenomena at elections across Australia for the last decade, with the rate of early voting boosted further since the emergence of Covid-19 a year ago.
Elections held since the emergence of Covid-19 have seen fewer than 40% of voters turn up to vote on election day, exaggerating the pre-pandemic trend to voting early.
At last October’s Queensland election, ordinary votes cast in a voter’s home district on polling day represented only 27.6% of all votes, down more than half from 57.2% in 2017. Postal votes doubled from 10.7% to 23.8% and rates of pre-poll voting rose from 26.2% to 43.8%.
Exact figures are not available for the Western Australian election but point to less than 40% of votes being cast on election day, and there were similar low rates at last year’s ACT and Northern Territory elections, and the Eden-Monaro and Groom federal by-elections.
The Tasmanian Electoral Commission (TEC) has not adopted the strategy of its brethren Electoral Commissions in vigorously encouraging early voting. Both Pre-poll and Postal voting are readily available, but with no community transmission of Covid in Tasmania, on health advice the TEC has decided there is no reason to discourage polling day voting.
There has been a rise in pre-poll voting at recent Tasmanian elections, but its incidence remains much lower than elsewhere.
At the 2018 Tasmanian election, 74.6% of votes were within district polling day ordinary votes. The figure was down from 80.8% in 2010 and 89.2% in 1992. The graph below shows the rates for each category of non-ordinary votes at Tasmanian elections since 1992.Read More »Early Voting at Tasmanian Elections