Saturday, October 17, 2020

2020 ACT Election Live And Post-Count

ACT Election 2020

Labor-Green government has been returned

Final result Labor 10 Liberal 9 Greens 6


DISCLAIMER - all assessments are provisional except where stated as definitive calls.  Hare-Clark elections are very complex.


9:30 Final distributions are up - barring any kind of challenge (which is unlikely) it's all over.

In Brindabella Davis (Green) defeats Werner-Gibbings (ALP) by 82 votes, with Wall 110 ahead of the cutoff point.

In Ginninderra Ramsay is out by 166 votes.

In Kurrajong the Greens get two by 407 votes.  

9:10 No new distribution as yet today.  

4:20 Very little to see today so far apart from the return of most of the missing votes.  Currently numbers for the polling place of Duffy (Murrumbidgee) are missing from the live count.  

11:20 The missing votes have been restored.

9:30 John (see comments below) points out the evidence that the current live counts are clearly incorrect: some booths are showing with vote counts below 20.  When checked, the votes in these booths prove to be informal only.  The formal vote counts are currently missing.  


9:00 Houston we have a problem.  Since 5:38 the following formal votes have disappeared from the live counts at that time: Brindabella 353, Ginninderra 2428, Kurrajong 2050, Murrumbidgee 2034, Yerrabi 2847.  A similar issue occurred during the 2016 count.  Hopefully this is temporary, either as a result of a glitch or of some booths being withdrawn during re-entry.  

8:00 Re Ginninderra, when I calculated the percentages for the parties earlier tonight I had Labor on 40.06% (Ramsay 8.53) and the Liberals on 26.77% (Cain 5.50) with the Greens on 12.46 and Belco 9.42, a position from which Ramsay would probably lose, but you would want to wait and see.  However the following primary figures are now showing: Labor 40.42% (Ramsay 8.57), Liberal 26.24 (Cain 5.35), Greens 12.77.  Ramsay trails by 98 votes but the missing votes include 715 for Labor (Ramsay 205) and 329 for the Liberals (Cain 51), based on which Ramsay would win.  The problem is that this puts the live count only 1485 votes over the interim distribution, but there are 3605 formal postals that according to this are not yet included in the data entry.  The same issue has happened in Murrumbidgee and Yerrabi - it's not yet clear what's going on here but it looks like an issue with the current live count figures.  

7:30 Tonight's distributions for Brindabella and Kurrajong are not useful as they have added the polling places of Mawson, Watson and Overseas.  Watson is the only sizeable polling place as concerns the three closest divisions, and it is extremely Green.  The Brindabella distribution adds only 174 votes to yesterday's (though Davis (Green) gains ten votes on his rivals at the tipping point in the process).  In Ginninderra the gap closes slightly but off a similarly small number of processed votes. In Kurrajong 1854 votes have been added and the Greens' lead has blown out to 785, but the votes that have been added are unrepresentative and have taken the distribution further away from the live count, so ignore it.   

5:40 I am online now and am updating the seats one by one.  A large number of postals have been added today, as have the amalgamated votes (these are typically from out of electorate polling places, ie effectively absents, which favour the left).  Declaration and interstate votes are still to come, and probably small numbers of postals:

Brindabella Live primaries are Labor 40.74 (Werner-Gibbings 8.28), Liberal 38.48 (Wall 8.25), Greens 10.73.  Extremely minor changes from yesterday's provisional distribution and this could still go either way - although Labor have lost more thant the Greens, they get to split their losses three ways.  The Liberals are slightly up but the interstate and declaration votes might change that and knock Wall out first (we don't know what happens then).  This remains extremely close and impossible for me at least to predict with any confidence.  

Ginninderra (Removed because of change in figures)

Kurrajong Live primaries are Labor 38.01, Liberal 27.58 (Burch 7.88) Greens 22.97 (Vassarotti 6.12). These are not massive changes from yesterday's distribution, especially with the Liberal gains splitting two ways.  I have been very very cautious about this because of the history of postals in this division and the way that losses from Labor hurt the Greens but I no longer see any reasonable doubt that the Greens are winning two.


7:40 The latest Brindabella distribution shows Wall (Lib) and Davis (Green) on 6134 with Werner-Gibbings (ALP) on 6121, meaning that currently Werner-Gibbings is out.  But with so much counting to go anyone could go out here.  If it's Labor or the Greens, the other one wins, but if it's Wall we don't know who wins yet as this scenario has not come up in any of the distributions.  In the distribution primaries, Labor have 40.9 (Werner-Gibbings 8.37), Greens 10.82, Liberals 38.30 (Wall 8.21) but in the live primaries Labor have 40.83 (8.34), Greens 10.71, Liberals 38.51 (8.25), so those changes may be favourable for Werner-Gibbings, but are so minor they could also be undone by other patterns that are not obvious.  It looks like this one's going to the button press.

Ginninderra: The distribution has primaries of Labor 40.21 (Ramsay 8.42) Liberal 26.40 (Cain 5.42) Greens 12.55 Belco 9.43.  Ramsay loses by 104 in this distribution.  The current live primaries are Labor 40.19 (Ramsay 8.55) Liberal 26.79 (Cain 5.51) Greens 12.35 Belco 9.46.  But there is also a change in the complexion of the count because now Tara Cheyne (ALP) is just below quota at the point where Ramsay is (currently) excluded.  This means that the drift to him in postals is something he gets to keep, which helps - any votes the Labor ticket loses can now be split two ways.  Even so I project the votes not yet included to widen the gap by about another 140 votes, which is likely if so to be too much to make up on the unusual vote types still to be counted.

Kurrajong: The distribution has primaries of Labor 38.12 Liberal 27.35 (Burch 7.79) Greens 23.26 (Vassarotti 6.23).  Vassarotti wins in this distribution by 535 votes (1.21%).  The current live primaries are Labor 37.94, Liberal 27.69 (Burch 7.93), Greens 22.97 (Vassarotti 6.13).  I could see the Liberals closing up something like half a percent here once the current votes are included, to bring it down towards 0.7%, but I don't think there will be enough postals left beyond that, or that they will be strong enough for the Liberals, unless there is a substantial increase in overall turnout.  It continues to look like the Greens are winning two here - just.  

5:20 There appears to be a data entry error in the latest live count for Ginninderra, which implausibly shows Lara Drew (Animal Justice) receiving 824 postals (21.7% of all postals).  This is deflating the count for all other parties.  On the assumption that the correct number is 24, I get Labor on 40.19%, Belco 9.46, Liberal 26.79. Green 12.35, ie more progress towards the Liberals.  Tonight's distribution may be useful in this seat.  [EDIT 6:30 - confirmed, this error has been rectified.]

3:15 More good news for the Greens in Kurrajong as another large bunch of postals exits the count with only minor negative changes.

12:30 Substantial postal counting in Ginninderra and Kurrajong.  In Ginninderra both major parties are up (Labor 40.26 Liberal 26.71) so little if any further damage for Labor.  Ramsay is also benefiting from an increased share of the Labor primary which is slightly boosting his chances of hanging on, especially with the help of interstate and amalgamated votes which are likely to favour him.

In Kurrajong it's Labor 37.98, Greens 23.04, Liberals 27.63, so the shift to the Liberals continues much as expected.  One issue here is how many postals are really left there (nobody knows).  Another is that Candace Burch's share of the Liberal primary is improving compared to the latest distribution, though this won't make an enormous difference by itself.

10:00 A factor in yesterday's surprises in the Brindabella and Kurrajong distributions is that vote share within the Greens ticket has been shifting - away from Davis in Brindabella leaving him more at risk from leakage, towards Vassarotti in Kurrajong helping the Greens to spread their vote there.  The Brindabella issue will continue as it gets worse in the live count, so that's a factor that could advantage Werner-Gibbings (ALP) further.  


9:00 The new Ginninderra distribution is bad for Gordon Ramsay (ALP), but again not as bad for the candidate who was being chased down as I thought.  Off primaries of Labor 40.42, Liberal 26.37, Green 12.65, Ramsay is nine votes ahead.  I project this to be 190 behind based on the current live count (an improvement from my earlier estimate of 400), but it could be less.  Postals to come may yet be harmful to him though, but amalgamated and interstate votes could be good for him.

8:45 The new Brindabella distribution is up in the PDF section.  Off primary votes with Labor 41.17, Liberal 38.51 and Greens 10.74, Labor would have been expected to fall behind, but have instead (however they have done it) increased their lead from five votes to 68.  That may come down to even less based on the primary votes but the Greens are no longer projecting ahead.  

7:55 A new distribution is up, and over 4000 votes have been added to the Kurrajong distribution.  Compared to the Sunday distribution this sees Labor down 0.21% to 38.52, the Liberals up 0.07% to 26.78, and the Greens down .01% to 23.54%.  I would have expected these changes to have advantaged the Liberals by around .2% but for whatever reasons they have not; in fact the gap for the final seat is now 735.5 votes (1.98%, up from 1.93%).  That changes my estimate of the Greens' margin in the live count from 0.7% to 1.0%, and there might be something non-obvious going on that makes that estimate pessimistic.

5:40 Ginninderra: currently Labor 40.18, Belco 9.47, Liberal 26.58, Green 12.47.  In all Labor is down .72% since the second distribution and the Liberals are up .62%.  That alone projects the Liberals to around a 400 vote lead.  We'll need to keep an eye on new preference distributions here but I think the Liberals are in a strong position to win this one.  

5:01 I have had a very close look at the current Kurrajong figures and I still think the Liberals are in it.  Since the second distribution figures that I discussed below Labor has dropped 0.7% to be on 38.03%, the Liberals are up 0.66% to be on 27.37% and the Greens have dropped 0.28% to be on 23.27%.  As noted before, the Liberals don't get full credit for that because any votes they gain are split between two candidates.  But what will be helping them a lot is the tanking of the Labor vote.  The reason for this is that in the current distribution, Labor exits the count via the surplus of their second elected candidate, Rachel Stephen-Smith, after the exclusion of Maddy Northam (ALP).  This triggers the ACT's special provisions for surpluses, under which votes that would exhaust are left with the candidate and votes with preferences flow on, meaning that currently the Greens get 91% of this surplus while Burch (Lib) gets very little.  That means that votes coming off Labor hurt the Greens to the tune of almost a full vote per vote, and what was a 1.9% lead may have come down to 0.7% already.  There will still be thousands of postals to come in Kurrajong, perhaps even as many as the total last time, in which the Liberals gained enough at the expense of other parties to erase such a gap - though potentially the handfuls of other vote types to be included would still help the Greens.  

A reader has however said that Elections ACT are expecting the number of returned postals to be much lower than in 2016 despite the higher number of applications.  If that is the case (it hasn't been in other pandemic elections), and there aren't also large numbers of paper prepolls still to add, then the Liberals won't catch up.  However I find that there are a few thousand votes per electorate still unaccounted for if turnout is going to be the same as in 2016.

4:35 A large injection of postals in Brindabella and Labor is on 40.81%, Liberal 38.51%, Greens 10.72%, with 53192 votes counted.  However I have noticed that Werner-Gibbings has increased his share of the Labor vote in this division from 20.2% to 20.4%, which actually could make a few dozen votes difference.  I estimate the Greens are around 115 votes ahead currently.  

3:10 Some postals are starting to enter the count.  Off the first 752 postals in Ginninderra, the Liberal total has increased by 0.2%, the Greens total is down 0.1 and Labor's total is down .07. 

11:00 Anyone watching much too carefully would have noted the % turnout figures have gone down slightly without any significant number of votes being removed - that's because the ACT has enrolment on the day so the maximum turnout increases as new enrolments are added.  


10:30 A quick look at the Brindabella distribution indeed finds that the primaries are so similar to the previous one and so different to the current primaries that the distribution isn't useful.  (Currently Labor are on 40.89 compared with 41.32 in the latest distribution, the Greens on 10.81 compared with 10.77 and the Liberals on 38.33 compared with 38.31, so my estimate is now that the Greens are about 80 votes in front.)

8:30 A new preference distribution is up but it does not include anywhere near all the counted votes yet and as such is of limited use.  I'll be looking at the fine detail a little later tonight but:

- In Brindabella Labor is still five votes in front but the distribution includes only 43195 votes compared to the 51675 so far counted.

- In Ginninderra the Liberals are still losing by a similar amount to last time but the distribution includes only 40029 votes compared to the 51101 counted.

4:50 In Kurrajong we have now had 3.4% counted today in which the Liberals have advanced by 0.2%, the Greens have gone backwards by 0.18% and Labor have gone backwards by 0.10%.  The gap is probably now about 1.6% (but we should find out with tonight's preference throw) and that seems very difficult to overhaul now.

3:10 Another 0.6% counted in Brindabella and Labor and the Greens went backwards by .05% each.  However the Greens are hurt more whenever this happens because they have one candidate at the key point while Labor have two. For the moment they are still ahead on my reckoning. (If the Greens do lose here, the Ginninderra Effect will probably have shifted electorates.)

2:00 The count in Ginninderra has now reached 81.7%.  Since yesterday Labor has lost another .06% and the Liberals are up another .13%.  The Greens have lost .09%.  There are still no postals included.  

12:40 pm The only seat where the count has advanced to one decimal place so far today is Kurrajong, which is now at 76.6% counted.  The only change in the party totals to two decimal places is that the Greens are down 0.01%.

Sunday 7 pm

Only a few percent more counted in most divisions today but in some cases some quite large differences from the comments below.  If these patterns continue we could see a more vigorous comeback by the Liberals than expected.

Brindabella: The Liberals are up to 38.16, the Greens down to 10.86 and Labor down to 40.99, so this remains extremely close between Labor and the Greens. Formal votes 51180 (turnout counted including informals 84.3%)

Ginninderra: Labor is down from 40.63 to 40.31, the Greens are down from 12.91 to 12.66 and the Liberals are up from 25.82 to 26.25.  The Belco Party is up from 9.24 to 9.36.  On this basis the Liberals are notionally probably already in front.  Votes counted 50356 (80.7%).  Note: some sources have considered the Greens' seat is in doubt here, but while the Liberals might catch them, I don't see how Labor will.

Kurrajong: This is a division where postals are extra helpful for the Liberals, but I don't believe they are yet included.  Since the update below Labor has dropped to 38.15, the Greens have dropped to 23.68 and the Liberals are up from 26.18 to 26.91.  That takes the notional gap back to about 1.9%, where it was at the end of election night, and this makes me feel the two-seat result for the Greens is not so bolted down although their lead is large.  Votes counted 44278 (76.4)

Murrumbidgee: Little change here.  Labor 36.49 Green 11.86 Liberal 35.12 Carrick 7.09.  Votes counted 48284 (82.2).

Yerrabi: Liberal 40.20, Greens 10.28, Labor 34.65 - no significant change here either.  Votes counted 47579 (80.4)

Sunday morning

As mentioned I won't be online much today, but I do want to note that a second preference distribution was uploaded late last night.  Most of the seats would require dramatic shifts in further votes for anything to happen.  I do want to be a little bit cautious because we don't really know what paper prepoll votes do in a setting where most people vote electronically.  Maybe some of the large leads the Greens have can still be pulled down.  

* In Brindabella, the primary votes in the distribution are ALP 41.34% Green 10.75% Liberal 38.39%.  The live count is 41.06-10.97-37.93.  In the distribution at the key point the votes are Werner-Gibbings (ALP) 4961, Davis (Green) 4954, Wall (Lib) 5050.  Taking the primary vote changes into account, Labor would currently exit at this point and the Greens are effectively something like 150 ahead (it is hard to say exactly how much because of splitting in the Labor vote).  At the moment the shifts aren't enough to put Wall out first at this point; I don't know what happens between Labor and the Greens should that occur.  It's very possible the Greens' lead here will fall over on paper prepolls.

* In Ginniniderra, the primaries in the distribution are ALP 40.90 Green 12.82 Liberal 25.96 Belco 9.00.  The live count is 40.63-12.91-25.82-9.24.  In the distribution Ramsay (ALP) defeats Cain (Lib) by 271 votes (0.69%).  The changes in the primary vote flow through at full value because each party has only one candidate remaining at this stage, so the live gap is about 0.52%, after taking the increased value of Belco preferences into account.  This may yet be overturned on postals and paper prepolls.

* In Kurrajong, the primaries in the distribution are Labor 38.73 Green 23.55 Liberal 26.71.  The live count is 38.44-24.04-26.18.  In the distribution Vassarotti (Green) defeats Burch (Lib) by 637 votes (1.9%), but in the live votes that would be more like 2.6% (the Liberal votes are splitting two ways) so that seems unlikely to change.  The Liberals might pull back, say, 1% on postals, and maybe they can take out most of the rest on paper prepolls but I think there would also be some kinds of remaining votes that would assist the Greens.  Note that the live count here is only at 74% so that leaves some room for uncertainty.  

* In Murrumbidgee, the primaries in the distribution are Labor 37.25 Green 11.89 Liberal 34.88 Carrick 6.77.  Carrick is excluded with 3620 votes behind Cody (ALP) 4027 with Davidson (Green) on 5206, which puts Davidson over quota leaving a within-ticket battle between Cody and Paterson which the latter currently wins by 717 votes.  In theory Cody might go out before Carrick, putting Paterson over and creating a surplus that would split between the Greens and Carrick, but even if this happens Carrick would need a massively favourable split to win, which wouldn't happen.  Current live primaries are 36.59-12.06-34.47-6.94.  

* In Yerrabi, the primaries in the distribution are Labor 34.81 Greens 10.01 Liberal 40.28.  In quota terms that's 2.09, 0.60 and 2.42 quotas.  However, Hare-Clark is about candidates, and the Labor ticket spreads their vote extremely well across three candidates.  Currently Raj-Gupta (ALP, 4687) is excluded behind Milligan (Lib, 4729) and Braddock (Green, 5385), the cascading surpluses then electing 2 Labor and Braddock.  The Greens are 1.8% clear of elimination at this point and any votes they lose to Labor split three ways.  Live primaries are 34.65-10.33-40.20 so the Greens' live margin is more like 2.2%.  If the Liberals are excluded at this point, that would create a Liberal surplus, but the fact that those votes going to Labor would split three ways should mean that is no threat to the Greens.


We will have to wait to see what unfolds through the week, especially in Brindabella, but for the time being what we have is a clear defeat for the Canberra Liberals and a strong vote for the Greens that may yet produce a spectacular seat haul for them.  The swing is basically away from the Liberals and to the Greens with the Labor vote on the whole doing nothing.  The picture may shift slightly if paper prepoll votes behave oddly and this may yet reduce the damage for the Liberals, but the margins in the overall result are large.  Unless the Liberals can get up to 11 seats they will record the undignified feat of going backwards in state seat share at two consecutive elections in Opposition against a very old opposing government.  (I find eleven previous cases of this at federal (3), state (8) and territory (0) level in Australia, with only three in the last fifty years - federal Labor 2001-2004 and NSW Coalition 1978-81 and 1999-2003. None were against a government quite as old as ACT Labor.)

As for fourth parties, the Belco Party has suffered from the common curse of leakage, while the only other competitive performance was from Fiona Carrick in Murrumbidgee.  

9:46 In Yerrabi Labor's 3rd candidate is about 2% behind the Greens at the point of exclusion.  I greatly doubt that could be turned around given that any votes falling to Labor would have to split three ways, and given nearly 80% has been counted, but it is a startling example of the benefits of vote-spreading given that the notional primary vote gap is 8.9%!  (I've been looking to see if Labor could still win a majority but I cannot find a 13th seat where they have realistic chances.)

9:35 Kurrajong 74% counted and the Liberals are down another 0.4% and the Greens up another 0.2% so it is really looking like two Greens in Kurrajong is on.  The Liberals have a lot of ground to make up.  

8:50 Currently tracking for a ridiculous outcome of 11-8-6, but the Greens are defending four fragile leads so it would be no surprise if some of those fell over.  In Brindabella there is also a possibility that the Liberals' Andrew Wall could drop out before either Labor or the Greens, freeing up Liberal preferences to influence the outcome.  There is a very close 3-candidate point in the distribution here.  

8:33 In Yerrabi the count is up to 75% and the Greens and Liberals are both up a bit so nothing new to see there.  

8:29 In Kurrajong the count is up to 61.5%.  The Greens are up from 23.5% to 23.8% and the Liberals are down from 26.9% to 26.6% so the extraordinary 2-1-2 scenario is firming!

8:25 In Ginninderra Labor are down from 41.1% to 40.6%, the Liberals are down from 26.2% to 25.8%, the Greens are up from 12.7% to 12.9% and Belco up from 9.0% to 9.2%.  With the Liberals 0.7% behind in the interim distribution this is not enough to change it.  

8:20 In Brindabella Labor are now 41.1% compared to 41.5% in the interim distribution and the Greens have come up from 10.7% to 10.9% so I would say the Greens are now notionally ahead in Brindabella.  

8:04 Kurrajong: I have had a look at how the Greens are getting two seats from so far behind.  They're doing it on micro-party preferences and big leakage (then at the end preferences) from Labor.  

Provisional preference distributions are up - checking them now

BRINDABELLA: The provisional distribution is 3-2 but Labor's third candidate beats the Greens by 36 votes so this is way too close to call.

GINNINDERRA: The provisional distribution is 3-1-1 (gulp!) but Labor beats the Liberals by 262 votes (0.04 quotas or 0.25%) which is way too close to call and could be overturned on postals.  Also the Greens going out at that stage is possible. Belco Party not competitive at present.

KURRAJONG: Amazingly the Greens win two on the provisional distribution despite trailing the Liberals 23.5% to 27.1% - it seems this is all on preference flows including from Labor. Their margin at the moment is 1.9% - I will have to look more carefully at how they are doing this.  


YERRABI: Currently 2-2-1; the Liberals are losing to the Greens by nearly 1000 votes.  

Current totals ALP 12 Liberal 8 Greens 5.  Cannot see the Liberals forming government.  

7:32 Overall: Kurrajong and Murrumbidgee are tracking for 2-2-1.  In Ginninderra the last two seats are a mess but it looks like a 3-2 left-right split.  Brindabella looks like 3-2-0 or 2-2-1, Yerrabi is the only seat where the right currently seems to have a show of 3, though it's a good show.  Neither major party currently looks like winning a majority, though that's not to say it is impossible, and overall it is looking likely that the Labor-Green government will continue.  

7:30 Murrumbidgee looking like a very firm 2-2-1.

7:25 Belco Party jump in Ginninderra! Now on 9.7% with 23.4% counted.  That's still not secure but it is interesting.  They are competitive with the Liberals, but the important thing is there's no sign of them being able to both win, since either Labor or the Greens going out would probably elect the other.  

7:22 Something less exotic in Kurrajong now where the Liberals are up to second and 2-2-1 looks more likely there.  

7:15 A big dump of votes in Ginninderra too though not as big as elsewhere.  Only three seats here (two Labor and one Liberal) are secure at this stage and the majors, the Greens and the Belco Party are fighting for the final seats with Labor and the Liberals.  At the moment the Belco Party are not doing enough as they will suffer from leakage and from falling behind individual major party candidates.  I would expect on current numbers they would get eliminated, their preferences assisting the Liberals and leaving Labor and the Greens to fight for the last seat, but that could be wrong - we need to see the distribution there, it's messy.

7:10 Better numbers for the Liberals with the big drop in Yerrabi where they are now fighting the Greens for the final seat and have a large swing to them (this is Alastair Coe's seat).  They nicely have Coe on a quota but not much more, and a good split between their second and third candidates, so at the moment there is a good prospect of a Liberal gain there.  

7:02 2% in in Yerrabi, so far 2-2-1 but I don't know where these are from.  Note: although three seats have a well-advanced count, there are no preference distributions up yet.  A general comment: there are big swings against the Liberals overall, and probably too big to be explained by vote type.  

7:00 A bit more in Ginninderra (4.3%) and the Belco Party are dropping back to 7.1% which is probably not enough, so they would need to lift a bit from that.  

6:52 Big drop in Kurrajong and the Liberals are trailing the Greens 1.3 quotas to 1.6 quotas!  27% in, an alarmingly bad start for the Liberals there, will be interesting to see how this develops.  Probably the Liberals will come back somewhat as non-electronic votes are included, but they are way behind at present.  

6:46 In Brindabella, on the current figures I now think the Greens are competitive.  I project Labor's third candidate to 11.4% assuming a proportional split of preferences within Labor's ticket.  The Greens are currently on 10.8% but would benefit from Animal Justice and possibly Sustainable Australia preferences.  Andrew Wall is projecting behind both and would seem to be in very serious trouble if these numbers are representative since either the Greens or Labor-3 going out would favour the other.  

6:42 Kurrajong - very small number of votes in.  No action for fourth parties there. 

6:33 In Murrumbidgee, 31% now in, but no significant change.  

6:28 Big dump in Brindabella. Nearly half of count there and on those numbers there are 2 for each major and 1 undecided but probably favouring Labor on current numbers as they have a very even split between their candidates and could beat the Greens.  I don't know how representative those are.  The important thing is that this is the Liberals' division where they have 3 so they would need to pick up, and postals did not much here last time. 

6:26 Big dump in Murrumbidgee.  26.3% counted there and on those numbers it would be 2-2 with an independent Fiona Carrick competitive with the Greens for the last seat, but the Greens are well ahead at the moment.  Labor also over 2 quotas with an even split so not out of contention for three there yet.  

6:23 Early figures from Ginninderra.  The Belco Party have started on 8% but their vote is spreadeagled between candidates which will not help as they will suffer through leakage.  

6:17 Some votes have been posted in Brindabella but I don't know where they're from or what they are just yet.  Anyway in these early votes none of the fourth parties are getting more than a few percent.  ABC reports these votes as a swing to Labor and the Greens but this may be unreliable.

6:05 Now paying attention after being briefly distracted by that walloping unfolding over the Tasman - no A.C.T. votes up yet.


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Postals up (4:50)

Elections ACT have tweeted that around 22,000 postal vote applications were received.  This is about a 25% increase on 2016.  In 2016 three-quarters of postal votes applied for were returned.  In pandemic elections so far an increase in postal votes has not necessarily led to an increase in their impact, because the difference between postals and other forms of voting has diluted.  

Introduction (2 pm)

Welcome to my coverage of the 2020 ACT Election.  Comments will start from around 6 pm.  Once the count gets properly underway, refresh every 10 minutes or so for the most recent comments.  Note: I will not be covering NZ, but NZ will be covered by Adrian Beaumont at Poll Bludger and Ben Raue at Tally Room.

Tonight I'll be aiming to provide detailed comments about the preference distributions that come out, based on my experience of Hare-Clark elections.  63.5% of enrolled voters voted by prepoll.  Around 90% of the prepolls are electronic, and there will be more electronic votes taken at 15 polling stations on the day.  We will get provisional preference distributions based on all these electronic votes, which could mean 65-70% of enrolment on the night (apparently within the first two hours) and these will also be supplemented by primary vote counting for votes cast at polling booths on the day.  

Some votes will not be counted at all on the night, including postals, non-electronic prepolls, declaration votes and votes amalgamated for privacy reasons.  See the Elections ACT schedule here.  The effect of postals varies by division.  In 2016 postals caused the greatest shift in Kurrajong, increasing the Liberal vote by about 0.6% at the expense of everyone else, and had the least effect in Brindabella.  

As each provisional distribution drops it may take me several minutes to analyse it and post comments. By the end of the night what I expect to have is a model of how the results in the preference distributions should change based on the primary votes that are available but have not been distributed to preferences.  

On Sunday I expect my coverage to be very limited but I hope to provide some comments around 6-8 pm, if not at other times.  I should have frequent comments through the working week.  

There has, as usual for the ACT, been very little polling for this election.  An Australia Institute uComms in early August was the only remotely scientific poll seen; a Clubs ACT survey shows no signs of having been a scientific poll.  The uComms poll had a surge to the Greens at the expense of Others, which if real could see the Greens take a couple of Labor seats, and which might happen on account of the lack of the prominent Sex Party campaign seen in 2016.  However, overestimates of the Green vote are common in polling, and it is difficult for pollsters to anticipate how the Others vote spreads over a large rabble of micro-parties, so we will have to see how this goes.  The track record of uComms is rather good but the poll is over two months old now.  

In my only analysis piece about this election prior to it I pointed out that an ABC article claiming that a swing of just 2000 votes to the Liberals could see them win the election outright was incorrect.  The more realistic path for victory for the Liberals is to win 12 seats and have someone else, such as the Belco Party, pick up one, but observers generally don't think this is happening.  There has been little attention paid to whether Labor might win a majority, although this very nearly happened last time.  

Antony Green has an article here that covers a lot of fine details including the tendency of major party leaders to poll big personal votes.  What Antony does not address there is whether the party leaders drag in votes from outside the party, or merely concentrate the party's existing vote in that electorate (which can actually be harmful because of leakage).  I've had a look at this and in a sample of five cases where the leadership changed electorate, the average swing to the party in the new electorate was 2.24% higher than the swing in the old one.  So there may be some boost for the Liberals in Yerrabi, but they would need it to be a lot more than that.  

I did a preview podcast for The Tally Room.  Also I am contractually obliged, before counting starts, to mention the dreaded Ginninderra Effect (warning, that is one of the wonkiest links on the internet!) which is on a hat-trick in the seat of Ginninderra at this year's election!  The Ginniniderra occurs when a party that seems to be in front of another on raw quota totals loses because of an even spread of personal votes for candidates in another party.  The major parties in the ACT (Labor especially) seem to have become very skilled at manipulating Hare-Clark's dirty little secret (because these candidate effects distort proportionality) to their advantage, and it will be interesting to see if this affects results again.  


  1. It would certainly be extraordinary for the Greens to win 6 seats to the Liberals 8 given the Liberals has well and truly more than double the Green vote.

    It wpuld serve as a lesson that Hare Clark doesnt necessarily lead to proportional outcomes.

    1. Yes. Usually the disproportionalities of the system hurt the Greens rather than help them but in this case they may have a large number of narrow victories. But it also makes the point (as with One Nation's second Queensland seat in 2016 where they overtook numerous micro-parties fair and square) that our system is a preferential one; the Liberals are doing woefully at getting preferences and on that basis aren't entitled to that much more than what they seem to be getting.

    2. The number of members per seat is a very significant factor here. The Greens would likely be getting 6 seats at this election with five 7-member electorates. The Belco Party would probably get a seat. The Liberals would probably get 13 and the ALP probably 14, although preferences could switch that slightly (towards the ALP). Fiona Carrick misses out, although she may have been in with a better chance in a group (like Jack Lang in the 1951 DD election in the Senate, although Robson rotation may reduce that effect).

      Non-Green crossbenchers gaining the balance of power are the Liberals` most likely route to government, so the larger required quota due to having 5-member electorates making it hard for non-Green crossbenchers to get elected probably hinders the Liberals.

    3. Yes, we've seen this in Tasmania too. Since the 5x5 system came in in Tasmania in 1998 there hasn't been an independent or fourth-party winner despite one very near miss (Wilkie Denison 2010) and the ACT hasn't had one in a similar time frame. There seems to be something about five seats per electorate that encourages a three-party system.

    4. 5-member electorate Hare-Clark in Victoria, NSW, WA and an alternate Queensland where the LNP hadn`t merged would likely produce at least 4 parties, with the Nationals also winning seats SFF might have a chance in NSW, KAP a definite chance in Queensland and One Nation Queensland, WA and possibly NSW. However these are all much larger parliaments.

  2. The bizarre thing about the 5 member thing hindering the Liberals is that they voted for 5 member electorates. The Greens wanted 3x7 electorates, but were outvoted by ALP and Liberals.

    1. A smaller number of members fits with the Liberals` small government ideology and 7-member electorates increase the number of seats the Greens can win in a less favourable election (like last 2016), which is not particularly appealing to the Liberals. So it is not a huge surprise.

  3. What's the basis of the postals claim? Did ElectionsACT subtract the people who marked off the electoral roll who also applied for postals, or is it just a guess?

    1. I do not know as I am not aware of the original source at this stage. If I find out anything about it I will add a note to that effect. The person making the comment said Elections ACT were only expecting around 8000 to come back.

  4. How are the shifts in primary for Werner-Gibbings specifically comparing to the Greens? It seems like we have another case of the Ginninderra effect if the Greens gaining on Labor doesn't play out in the distribution. He may be outperforming the ALP average.

    Similarly is Candice Burch personally getting much out of the Liberals gains on postals in Kurrajong? She may be underperforming the LNP average.

    1. Werner-Gibbings has come up from 20.2% to 20.4% of the Labor vote in the most recent distribution while Davis has dropped from 52.4% to 51.7% of the Green vote (and is currently at a live figure of 50.8%). In Kurrajong, Burch is actually up (27.9% to 28.2% of Liberal total) but Vassarotti is up more (26.1% to 26.7% of Greens). In the live count these figures are 28.7% and 26.9% so there may be scope there for Burch to improve.

    2. What seems to be key is how Werner-Gibbings compares to Joy Burch/Gentleman, and how Candice Burch compares to Lee. I wouldnt think Davis would lose all that much out of his primaries drifting to other Greens candidates.

    3. The leakage rate on the Green exclusions in Brindabella is surprisingly high, running at about 29% (I am used to about 10-15% in Tasmania). Probably driven up though by micro-party preferences coming in then leaving, more than by the votes within the Greens ticket.

      Yes in the current distribution the small shift for Werner-Gibbings has had the greater impact (about 40 votes).

  5. Hey Kevin,

    passing interest here. I'm not up to speed with the ACT candidates.

    Is it possible to add in which party the candidate is from with updates?

    Example; [name - party].

  6. If both majors are gaining in Ginninderra, are the Greens at risk?

    1. Pretty sure they're not. The previous distribution had the Greens 1.5% ahead; since then Labor has only closed the gap on live primary votes by 0.1%. Don't think there could be enough votes left to overturn it and some of those votes (interstate and amalgamated) are likely to help the Greens.

  7. It would be possible to get a read on the wall Wall elimination scenario by looking at both today's preferences (Werner Gibbings eliminated) and yesterday's (Davis eliminated)

    1. I don't see any way to do that. In either case Wall's preferences are thrown while only one of the other parties is still in the count.

    2. I was thinking of relative exhaust rates but probably not much useful to see. I think Wall being eliminated early would also mean Parton/Lawder excess preferences will flow (and due to special provisions it could be surprisingly many votes).

      For what it's worth it seems like Daniels' and Hiatt's preferenced favour ALP, though Davis does get more votes personally than Werner Gibbings when Hiatt is eliminated (though that's with Cathy Day ALP still in the count)

      I think an early Wall exclusion means a boost for ALP, which seems to make Davis' position quite precarious. IIRC the final non postal votes will likely boost Greens but also Labor which makes the Wall dropping scenario more likely.

      Anyway a lot to think about for a result that we'll find out in a few days anyway

  8. There are several booths showing with counts under 20, including the Harrison booth in Yerrabi (which was also a prepoll booth). That seems to be where the glitches are

    1. And the votes showing in those cases are informal votes only. It looks like formal vote totals from some booths have been blanked, either accidentally or pending re-entry.