Tuesday 18 December 2018
For immediate release

Record number of votes, but Commission to seek reasons for reduced turnout in 2018 State election

While a record number of votes were counted in last month’s State election, the overall proportion of Victorians to cast a vote decreased for the first time since 2006.

Over 190,000 more votes were counted in the 2018 election compared to 2014, however, of the 4,139,326 Victorians on the electoral roll, 3,732,062 cast a vote for the 2018 State election – 90.16% of the total enrolment. This is compared to a 93.02% turnout at the 2014 State election.

Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately AM, says research is being undertaken to fully understand this electoral behaviour, but noted the result was consistent with trends observed in recent Australian State and Federal elections; previously, Victoria had been the only jurisdiction to buck this trend.

‘This is not a new trend in Australia, but there are likely to be a number of factors that contributed to the lower voter turnout, so we will be looking closely at why some Victorians did not vote at this election,’ Mr Gately said.

Levels of informal voting also increased, with an average 5.83% rate of informality for the Lower House (compared to 5.22% in 2014) and 3.96% for the Upper House (3.43% in 2014).

‘We know that high levels of informality tend to correlate with Districts that have a high number of candidates, and this was seen again at this election. For example, there was an informality rate of 10.06% in Melton District, which had 12 candidates contesting, increasing the chance of people repeating or missing numbers on ballot papers,’ Mr Gately said.

A further update on electoral participation trends will be provided in 2019, once research analysis is complete.

Media enquiries:

Marie Guerin
Senior Media & Communication Advisor
Victorian Electoral Commission
Phone: (03) 8620 1363
Mobile: 0419 366 889
Email: marie.guerin@vec.vic.gov.au