(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.