Election 2pm turnout: 12-point drop in votes cast, heaviest decline in Labour stronghold

The Electoral Commission has announced that the approximate voting turnout up till 2pm is 40.45%, with 143,628 votes cast so far • Turnout decline heaviest in Second District

PN leader Bernard Grech casts his vote earlier in the morning, 26 March 2022
PN leader Bernard Grech casts his vote earlier in the morning, 26 March 2022

Updated at 7:27pm with district turnout details and PN statement

Less than half of eligible voters have cast their ballots by 2pm than in 2017, according to official figures.

The Electoral Commission announced that the approximate voting turnout up till 2pm is 40.45%, with 143,628 votes cast so far, out of Malta's 355,075 eligible voters.

This indicates a drop of 11.87 percentage-points in the 2pm turnout since the last General Election, in 2017.

The steepest drop in voter turnout by 2pm has been in the Second District, a traditional Labour stronghold, followed by the Sixth District.

A breakdown of numbers provided by the Electoral Commission shows that the turnout until 2pm on the Second District was 38.3%, 14 points lower than 2017.

Similarly, the mid-point turnout on the Sixth District at 39.3% was 13 points lower than 2017.

The lowest turnout was recorded in the 12th District with 37.7%, however this district has traditionally always witnessed low turnouts.

The figures show a significant drop in turnout across all 13 districts when compared to the last election.

The significant drop in turnout, especially in the Labour leaning districts appears to have shocked party exponents although it has to be seen whether the numbers improve by the time polling stations close at 10pm.

On average, the Labour leaning districts between 1 and 7 had a turnout until 2pm of 40.4%, while the Nationalist leaning districts between 8 and 12 had an average turnout of 40.7%. Gozo, which is a distinct district, had a turnout of 40.5%.

PN says early voters ignored

The official turnout figures for 2pm published by the Electoral Commission appear to have ignored early voting.

In a statement the Nationalist Party said turnout for 2pm could be as high as 44.8% when taking into account early voters.

The PN’s electoral office, Elcom informed the Electoral Commission that its data has erroneously ignored the ballots for early voting. Early voting took place in the week preceding the 26 March.

The PN said the total number of voters that the Electoral Commission said had cast their ballot by 2pm, 143,628, did not include the 15,289 electors who cast their ballot in the days before.

That would raise the 2pm turnout from 40% to 44.8% of Malta's registered 355,075 voters.

Uncollected votes

This is the 13th election since Malta gained its Independence.

With 355,025 registered voters, a total of 14,473 voting documents remained uncollected – 4.1% of all eligible votes – almost double that of the 2.4% registered in 2017, and 2% in 2013.

The 12th district, comprising Naxxar, St Paul’s Bay, and Mellieha, had the highest number of uncollected voting documents – 2,529 (8.95%).  

The second highest number of uncollected documents was in the 10th district, comprised of Gżira, part of Naxxar and Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Pembroke, Sliema and St Julian’s, where 1,876 (7%) documents remained uncollected.