NSW Elections
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Turnout Tables for Non-Party Nineteenth Century Elections
Explaining Totals by Vacancy and Overall Totals.
Elections between 1856 and 1891 were conducted in multi-member districts using first-past-the-post voting. Electors could vote for as many candidates as their were vacancies to fill. An elector had one vote in a single-member districts, two votes in a 2-member district and up to four votes in a 4-member district. Separate totals have been provided based on grouping districts by the number of vacancies to be filled. Note that because voters had multiple votes, the number of votes recorded in multi-member districts can be larger than the number of electors on the roll. It is not possible to calculate overall totals by adding results from all districts, as the extra votes cast in multi-member districts would always distort the totals. Instead, The overall results provided have been calculated by using the number of persons voting to weight down the number of votes in multi-member districts, then calculating the overall totals by adding the weighted totals.
What is the 'Total Districts' line in each table?
This line is included for any election where there were uncontested districts. This line provides the total roll, number of districts, total vacancies and total candidates contesting the election, including the districts, vacancies and candidates for uncontested districts. The 'Total Districts' line is the sum of the Contested and Uncontested Districts line.
What is the 'Contested District Totals' line?
This line provides a total for each column in all contested districts. Note that the % figure in the final column provides a minimum estimate of turnout by dividing the number of votes by the number of vacancies and the total enrolment. This is the default calculation used when a total number of persons voting was not available. Note that the turnout figure provided on the 'Persons Voting / Turnout' line will always be a better estimate.
Why do the Persons Voting and Total Votes not always agree?
Vote totals have mainly been obtained from newspaper sources, while the value of Persons Voting has been taken from the annual NSW Statistical Register. On some occasions, a final result exactly matching the Statistical Register was not found. On other occasions, the Statistical Register was not always consistent in its reporting of informal votes. Without officially published results, it has not been possible to resolve minor discrepancies between newspaper results and the Statistical Register and these are reflected in the overall totals.
What has been done in districts where the number of persons voting was not available?
Where a Persons Voting total was not available, an estimate has been calculated by dividing the total number of votes by the number of vacancies. Districts where a Persons Voting value was not available can be located on the District Turnout page for any election. Overall election results have been calculated using the Persons Voting value, and where not available, by substituting the persons voting estimate. The only election where Persons Voting was largely unavailable was the 1858 election.
Informal Votes
Until the 1880s, the reporting of informal votes in the Statistical Register was erratic. Informal votes have been taken first from the Statistical Register, and if not provided there, from newspaper reports. On some occasions it was clear that the total of persons voting in the Statistical Register included the number of informal votes. In others where the Statistical register reported no informal votes, the shortfall in votes from newspapers reports may well reflect unreported informal votes. Discrepencies between reported results and the Statistical Register are noted with the results for individual districts.
Why do some elections have separate totals for General and Gold Fields districts?
Under the 1858 Electoral Act, three Gold Fields districts were created overlaying the area covered by general districts. Voters who lived in a proclaimed Gold Field and possessed the relevant mining or business licence were entitled to vote in the Gold Fields seat by presenting their licence on polling day. There was no electoral roll, Returning Officers merely estimating the number of voters in each district who possessed a voting right. Many of these voters also appeared on the general roll for the area, and electors were only entitled to vote in the Gold Fields district if they had not exercised their voting right in a local general district. For these reasons, turnout in Gold Fields seats was often quite low compared to general districts. For elections between 1859 and 1877 when the Gold Fields districts existed, separate totals are maintained as an alternative measure of turnout for the overall election.