postal voting

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%.
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2022 NSW By-elections – Tracking the Early Vote

The four NSW by-elections for Bega, Monaro, Strathfield and Willoughby are being conducted under rules where every voter is automatically being sent ballot papers in a postal vote pack.

You can find my guide to the by-elections at the ABC Elections site. Each page now includes candidate how-to-vote material.

In this post I will keep track of the number of pre-poll votes cast and the number of postal votes returned before polling day. As I explain inside this post, the rate of postal voting is certain to be very high given this automatic send out of postal vote packs. Voters can still vote pre-poll or vote on polling day, but many are certain to use the ballot papers sent to them.

Observation – In the final week of voting you would normally see a surge in pre-poll voting. That hasn’t happened with these by-elections. Pre-poll voting increased each day in week one of voting, but there has been no increase in the per day rate in week two. That voters were receiving postal vote packs last week has almost certainly caused some voters to use their postal vote rather than attend pre-polling. As polling day nears, the number of postals returned has begun to surge.

The rates of pre-poll and postal voting by Friday 11 February on the completion of pre-poll voting:
Bega – 29.4% of enrolled voters have cast a pre-poll and 21.3% returned a postal vote
Monaro – 23.1% of enrolled voters have cast a pre-poll and 15.3% returned a postal vote
Strathfield – 16.3% of enrolled voters have cast a pre-poll and 26.4% returned a postal vote
Willoughby – 9.6% of enrolled voters have cast a pre-poll and 28.1% returned a postal vote

Inside this post I breakdown the pre-polls and postals by electorate by day and compare them to the equivalent rates in 2019. I also explain the rules under which the election is being conducted, and also the changed counting procedures for the by-election.

Update on Counting Procedures – Postal votes envelopes will be processed in the week after the election, but there will be no counting of postal votes until Saturday 19 February.

It is important to stress that this all postal election is not available for the Federal election or the looming South Australian election. Both those elections will allow more voters to apply for postal votes, but full postal mail-outs aren’t an option for either election.
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2021 WA Election – Tracking the Early Vote

Final pre-poll and postal vote details have now been published ahead of the WA election on 13 March. The number of early votes already in the hands of the WA Electoral Commission have passed three-quarters of a million, 755,075 or 44% of enrolled voters.

The final figures at end of voting on Friday 12 March are

  • 585,774 pre-poll votes have been taken representing 34.1% of enrolled voters. This is more than two and a half as many pre-polls as were taken in total at the 2017 election. 86.548 were taken on Friday, the usual pattern where the highest number of pre-polls is taken on the final day.
  • 331,078 postal vote applications were received up till close of applications on 10 March representing 19.3% of enrolled voters.
  • 169,301 postal votes have been returned and processed by the WAEC representing 9.9% of enrolled voters or 51.1% of postal vote applications.

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Early Voting at Western Australian Elections

As has been the case at other elections held in the last year, the 2021 Western Australian election will see major changes in when people vote.

As at the Northern Territory, ACT and Queensland elections in 2020, the WA Electoral Commission has responded to Covid-19 by actively encouraging voters to take advantage of postal and pre-poll voting options ahead of the state’s official polling day on Saturday 13 March.

As with every other Australian jurisdiction, the last decade has seen Western Australians move away from voting on election day. At the 2017 election, only 64.1% of votes were cast on polling day compared to 85.5% two decades ago.

Chart 1 below shows the percentage of formal votes cast in each vote category at WA elections since 1989.
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Early Voting at Queensland Elections and its Political Impact

As a Covid-19 measure, the Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) is encouraging electors to vote early in 2020. This means the Queensland election will see a record rate of votes cast before the traditional polling day on 31 October.

While the overall early voting rates will be exaggerated by the circumstances of holding an election under Covid-19 precautions, the switch to early voting continues a trend that has been accelerating over the last decade.

This post looks at Queensland elections since 1986, how and when people have voted, as well as the differing levels of party support by vote type at the 2017 state election.Read More »Early Voting at Queensland Elections and its Political Impact

Eden-Monaro By-election – Regional and Vote Type Breakdown of the 2019 Result

To help in analysing the Eden-Monaro by-election results on Saturday night, I’ve broken down the 2019 results by region and by vote type.

In summary, the electorate has three broad regions. The largest by population is the Queanbeyan-Palerang council area with 32.0% of votes taken in 2019. The rural areas surrounding the ACT including Yass, Tumut and Cooma took 28.1%, while voting centres on the NSW far south coast took 25.9%.

Labor’s two-party vote versus the Liberal Party was strongest in Queanbeyan-Palerang (54.6% to 45.4%), then the South Coast (52.5% to 47.5%) and weakest in the rural areas (46.1% to 53.9%). The Liberal Party’s two-party vote was strongest in the reverse order to Labor’s, shown as the second figure in the bracketed numbers above.

Of first preferences support for minor parties, National support was weakest on the South Coast (2.5%) and strongest in the Yass-Tumut-Cooma area (11.1%).  Green support was strongest on the South Coast (10.0%).

Of all votes cast in 2019, only 50.6% were ordinary votes cast in polling places on election day. Another 35.4% were pre-poll ordinary votes cast during the campaign. There were another 5.8% of votes cast as pre-poll absent votes, 5.6% as postal votes, 1.9% as absent votes, and 0.7% as others including provisional and special hospital votes.

In descending order of Labor two-party preferred percent versus the Liberal Party, the results were absent (54.6% to 45.4%), polling places (52.8% to 47.2%), pre-poll absent (52.3% to 47.7%), pre-poll ordinary (48.9% to 51.1%)  and postal votes (42.9% to 57.1%). In summary, Labor won polling day, the Liberal Party won the pre-poll period, with Labor winning narrowly overall.

More detail can be found in this post below, with much more detail on the by-election, the candidates and polling place results at my ABC Eden-Monaro by-election guide.

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Eden-Monaro By-election – Tracking Pre-poll and Postal Votes

(Final Update 4 July – based on final figures)

In this post I’ve been tracking how many people have cast pre-poll votes or applied for a postal vote ahead of the Eden-Monaro by election this Saturday, 4 July.

My interest has been to measure whether there has been a change to the number of voters using these advance voting options compared to their use in Eden-Monaro at last year’s Federal election. You would expect some increase as the by-election is being conducted mid-winter in one of the coldest parts of the country at a time of continuing concerns over Covid-19 infection.

The Queensland local government elections in March, conducted in warmer weather but at a time of greater Covid-19 concern, saw a huge increase in the use of both postal and pre-poll voting.

So far there has been a marked increase in postal voting and some increase in pre-poll voting. As there is no absent voting and only limited pre-poll absent voting available for the by-election, some of the observed increase in postal and pre-poll voting may simply reflect a shift from absent voting. Last year there were 1,983 absent votes in Eden-Monaro and 6,207 pre-poll absents, together representing 7.7% of all votes.

In summary – at the end of the pre-poll voting period, 38.2% of the electorate have voted pre-poll, 43,684 in total compared to 41,355 pre-polls taken for all districts in 2019, or 37,808 in total for Eden-Monaro in 2019. This is an increase of 15.5% on 2019. There were 6,920 pre-polls taken on the final day of pre-poll voting on Friday, representing 6% of all voters.

The big increase has been with postal vote applications, up 127% on the number of applications in 2019. The deadline for the receipt of postal vote applications passed on Wednesday, so the final total of applications received is 16,840 or 14.7% of electors. That is more than double the 7,428 applications in 2019. Most notably, Labor is running a serious postal vote campaign for the by-election, 4,447 forms returned to the AEC as against only 41 returned by Labor in the whole 2019 campaign. Full detail inside this post.

For more background on the Eden-Monaro by-election and on the candidates, check out my guide to the by-election at the ABC elections website.

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