A result in the close-call seat of Indi probably won’t be known for another two weeks, according to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), and it now looks like Sophie Mirabella, a senior coalition figure, is likely facing defeat.
A spokesman from the AEC has said that the scrutiny and counting of about 15,000 postal and pre-poll votes means further delays in declaring a result, with an automatic recount triggered if the difference between the two leading candidates in less than 100 votes.
Independent Cathy McGowan is currently 1,471 votes ahead of her opponent. Mirabella appeared on track to overtake McGowan due to a clear majority in postal votes until a surprising discovery of 1,003 uncounted votes for McGowan. The director of operations at the AEC, Steve Kennedy, put this down to an “accounting problem”.
“When [AEC staff] were doing the Wangaratta early voting centre, an anomaly in the tally sheet was found of around a thousand votes.”
“The ballot papers have always been there with the other 6,000 ballot papers for that early voting centre, but there was a transposition/transcription error made on a bundle for candidate Cathy McGowan, the independent. It had 1,115: it should have been 2,115.”
Experts believe that this turn of events means that Mirabella will not be to able to overtake McGowan’s lead.