During the Victorian election campaign, I had a daily updated post tracking the record rates of pre-poll and postal voting.
With the results now complete, it’s time for a post looking at the final pre-poll and postal vote rates as a percentage of the vote rather than of enrolment.
It is also possible to look at two-party preferred results by vote type, though these may change slightly with the Narracan supplementary election and some additional preference counts to be completed in the new year.
I have also included a chart showing the percentage of each vote type by district.
In summary, the swing against the Andrews government was much larger on election day than with pre-poll votes, and there was a swing towards Labor with postal votes.
In 2018 the gap between polling day results and for early votes meant that the Andrews government’s 2018 victory looked much larger on election night than it turned out to be once all the votes were counted.
So large was the pre-poll and postal gap in 2018 that I built that trend into the ABC’s 2022 election computer model. That the gap was much narrower means that with complete twenty-twenty hindsight, it would have been possible to make a clear election call earlier in the evening.
More comments and tables inside the post.
The chart below is easier to read on mobile phone if you turn it to landscape.
|% of Vote||ALP Two-Party %|
|Ordinary in District||48.3||34.8||59.3||55.8||-3.5|
Note: The 2018 2PP in above table includes a notional 2PP entry for Richmond. The VEC’s total for 87 districts was 57.3%.
Some comments on the above table –
- A decline in polling day voting and rise in pre-poll voting has been a consistent trend at Australian elections since 2010, though the record pre-poll numbers have occurred during and post-Covid.
- Postal voting had been static for most of the period from 2010 to 2020 but has risen since Covid, though postal numbers are swamped by the volume of pre-poll voting.
- Absent voting declined in 2022, almost certainly due to the rise in pre-poll voting.
- As in 2018, Labor recorded its highest vote on polling day with in-district and absent voting. Labor did less well with pre-poll voting and especially with postal voting. But the gap between Labor’s performance on polling day and with early voting declined substantially.
- In 2018 the gap between Labor’s 2-party % for ordinary votes compared to pre-poll votes was 3.6 percentage points and 8.1 percentage points with postal votes. The same values for 2022 were 1.3 and 3.3.
- The swing against Labor was worse on polling day than for early voting. There was a two-party preferred swing towards Labor on postal votes.
- The Andrews government changed the Electoral Act to ban parties from sending out postal vote application forms. Almost all postal votes were organised using the permanent postal roll or by applications received through the VEC’s on-line application form. In the past the Liberal Party has been far more active in sending out postal application forms. It could be that this change in the law is responsible for the Coalition doing less well with postal votes. Whether this meant some people didn’t vote or voted by different channels is not known.
A few comments on changes in first preference vote by vote type
- Informal voting percentages were 3.7% for postal votes, 5.5% for pre-poll votes, 5.9% for in-district polling day votes and 7.4% for absent votes. Informal voting rates by vote type almost always ranked in this order.
- The assumed explanation for the different informal rates is that postal voters have more time to read the instructions and decide their preferences and make fewer errors. Pre-poll voters are generally less rushed than on the day voters so make fewer errors. Voting day is more likely to see queues to vote and hurried voters make more mistakes. The high rate of Absent voting is down to it being much more common in urban areas where informal voting is generally higher, and also because Absent voters are less likely to have how-to-votes for their home district as a guide.
- Labor’s first preference vote was down 8.3 percentage points on election day, the Coalition vote down 1.1, Greens up 1.9 and Others up 7.5.
- Labor’s first preference vote was down 3.9 percentage points with pre-poll and 1.5 with postals. The same figures for the Coalition were 1.3 and 4.5, and for Others up 5.1 and 5.5.
- The Greens polled 18.1% on polling day, 16.5% on pre-poll, 14.9% with postals and 21.8% with absents. The Greens always do much better with absent voting and worse with postal vote.
Vote Type by Electoral District
A few comments on the vote type graphs.
- Absent voting is much rarer in country and regional districts than it is in metropolitan seats.
- Postal voting is also more common in metropolitan districts.
- The rate of pre-poll voting can be dependent on the positioning of pre-poll centres.
- The small number of provisional and marked as voted vote types (under 1% in all districts) are not included in the table.
- There were four districts where less than a quarter of votes were taken on election day and only 11 where more than 40% voted in a polling place on election day.
- There were 40 districts where more than half of all votes were taken as early in person pre-poll votes.
You can sort the table below by column to see the districts with the highest and lowest rates of beach vote type. (Sorting does not work on mobiles. In fact, the graph isn’t nearly as good on mobile.)