Examining the effects of convenience voting on accidental invalidity

Josh Holloway, Narelle Miragliotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Accidental invalid voting is a scourge of voting because an elector has acted contrary to their intentions. This problem has been shown to be more acute in settings where the requirement to vote is mandatory and the electoral regime is complex. In this article, we explore the interaction between convenience voting and accidental invalidity to evaluate whether the former helps reduce the incidence of the latter. We investigate whether two popular forms of convenience voting - postal and early voting - have potential to minimize rates of accidental invalidity under taxing voting rules in five recent subnational elections from Australia. Aggregate-level data is used to explore correlations between different voting modes and rates of accidental invalid voting. The findings suggest that convenience voting has a negative relationship with the incidence of accidental invalid ballots, but that the size of the effect is small. Hence, the more familiar forms of convenience voting appear to have some but modest benefits for reducing accidental invalidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-285
Number of pages14
JournalElection Law Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2021


  • convenience voting
  • invalid voting
  • accidental invalid voting
  • postal voting
  • early voting

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