Special votes include overseas votes, postal votes for people both in New Zealand and abroad who could not make it to a polling booth, and dictation votes, which are available to people with disabilities.
In 2014, there were 293,130 (12.2% of total votes) special votes that included around 38,500 overseas votes.
This year the Electoral Commission is predicting 384,072 (15% of total votes) votes as special votes. This includes an estimated 61,375 overseas and dictation votes.
In recent memory, special votes have never helped National in the final count.
In 2014 National's vote dropped from 48 per cent to 47 per cent after counting of special votes, which cost them one seat in the house.
It was the third consecutive election where National lost a seat after counting of special votes.
In 2011 and 2014, that seat had gone to the Greens.
Political pundits are counting on this trend of special votes leaning toward the left and punishing National by taking away one or possibly two seats (since numbers of votes are more this year).
So are Labour, the Greens, and New Zealand First.
In fact, New Zealand First is not keen to start negotiations for the new government before seeing the final result of the special votes count, which is due on Saturday, October 7.
And this is exactly why National is in a hurry to initiate coalition talks with NZ First as soon as possible.
However, there is some rationale to suggest a break away from that trend, even if it almost appears to be preposterous to make such a suggestion.
The assumption that all special votes are generally left-leaning, as it largely includes first-time young voters needs a fresh look.
A quick survey of trends of special votes also reveals a fact, which has largely escaped the attention of all analysis appearing in the media so far about special votes, that these special votes are also reflective of the opinion polls in the weeks immediately before the election night.
It is to say that, the reason Greens received a bump up in their total votes and hence gained a seat in the special vote count was duly backed by a demonstrated bump in the opinion polls immediately before election night in all three elections of 2008, 2011, and 2014.
In simple words why Greens eventually succeeded in getting a favourable bump in the total count of special votes in these years was because Greens were clearly on the rise.
This was clearly not the case in 2017.
The Greens have dramatically fallen from a high of about 15 per cent six weeks before election night to alarming levels of about 5 per cent to an extent even fearing a complete wipe out from parliament.
In the end, finally, the party barely managed to get past the cut-off margin and secured 5.9 per cent votes.
This is unlike all last three elections, where all opinion polls before elections had reflected a steady upward trend for the party just before elections.
Similarly, the last two weeks before election night this year, when advance voting had already started, there was a tremendous amount of volatility in opinion polls for both the major parties National and Labour.
In most of the opinion polls for the week starting Monday, September 11, Labour had a four-point lead over National.
However, it was in the week starting Monday, September 18, that National started bouncing back in almost all opinion polls with a lead over Labour.
This volatility in opinion polls just before the election night was not the case during the last three elections when the Greens had received a favourable bump in their total seat counts in parliament.
Therefore there is no reason to assume that special votes this year will not be reflective of volatility in opinion polls.
In fact, following the trends of opinion polls in the last week before election one should not be surprised if National receives a slight bump after the count of special votes.