We have a provisional result, and now await the official result after special votes are counted. Special votes are:
- those cast overseas;
- those case on polling day by people voting outside their electorate;
- those cast by people who enrolled after the printed electoral roll was closed;
- those cast by people on the unpublished roll; and
- those cast by people who think they're on the roll, but aren't (these votes don't count).
The final result is due on December 10.
I have no particular reason to believe that the effect of special votes will, at this election, mirror the effect in the 2008 election. Indeed, there are a number of factors in play which suggest they won't be: not least temporary dislocation caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes. That said, using an exceedingly rudimentary method,* based solely on how special votes broke in 2008, along with the Electoral Commission's estimate of the number of special votes at this election, I predict the following final result:
|New Zealand First||6.81%||8||6.59%||8|
The sole change, based on these assumptions, is a gain of one by the Green Party at the expense of the National Party. If the projection holds, it would be Mojo Mathers in as the 14th Green MP, and National's 60th MP, Aaron Gilmore, out of Parliament after one term (at least until the first National list resignation). One-term MP Paul Quinn currently holds the coveted "Judith Tizard" spot on National's list.
Finally (and somewhat related to this post about special votes), I have heard suggestions of a turnout as low as 65%. I believe this was based on quick estimate that ignored the special votes. The Electoral Commission estimates turnout at 73.83%, better, but still well down on the 79.46% turnout in 2008.
*I took the 2008 preliminary results and 2008 final results, calculating the change in each party's votes between the two counts, and then corrected for the differing sizes of the special votes between 2008 and 2011, multiplying this proportion by the preliminary count. Mana is assumed to break the way the Māori Party did, and the Conservatives are presumed to break the same way as the Kiwi Party did (although this cannot affect the make-up of Parliament).
Update by request: The Christchurch Central race was tied on the preliminary count, so the special votes will prove decisive here: there will be no change to the overall party strength whatever the result, and if National's Nicky Wagner wins, no change to personnel either. However, if Brendan Burns wins, Raymond Huo will be gone.