MORE votes have been counted today in the Bass Coast Shire Council elections and despite the pre-poll controversy surrounding Cr Les Larke, he still stands some chance of getting elected.
The popularity of Brett Tessari in the electorate is a standout so far with the two-term mayor and former Power footy club president securing more than 1:2 of the 10,552 votes counted to date.
Tessari has 5366 of 10,552 votes counted while Leticia Laing’s strong campaign has paid off with 1796 first preference votes.
Where people placed their second and third preference will be crucial as to whether Michael Nugent 1296 and Les Larke 1105 get elected.
Julian Brown already looks out of the running with 989 first votes.
He recommended voters give Larke their 2nd preferences, but local government elections are different to state and federal polls, because local voters often know the candidate and set their own preferences.
But, supposing Larke gets the lion’s share of Brown’s preferences, then he’s right back in it.
The other important factor is where Brett Tessari’s vote goes after his quota is achieved.
These votes will flow back to Laing, then Nugent and finally Larke, who was 4th on Tessari’s card, but again, it will be the voters who decide who they prefer.
Tessari’s votes don’t come back at full value either according to the VEC’s preferential rules.
It’s a cliff-hanger at this stage and still with the cloud of the pre-poll accusations against Cr Larke, ultimately dismissed by the Local Government Inspectorate (LGI), hanging over the result.
If it’s close will it make a new inquiry by the LGI more likely or will it be decided by the courts.
There’s been no further update from Westernport, where counting continued on Saturday, or Phillip Island where Michael Whelan 1945 votes, Ron Bauer 1619 votes and David Rooks 1584 votes look like getting elected.
With no candidate likely to get a quota in their own right on the Island, the three leading candidates will be scrambling for preferences from those further down the list; Bauer likely to be favoured by those who supported Trish Cerini 554 and Darrell Silva 252 and both Whelan and Rooks sharing the spoils from Ash Belsar 500, Mikhaela 303 and Jeni Job 694.
No one seems to know what’s going on in Westernport where, by all accounts, it was a fairly happy contest between Geoff Ellis, Bruce Kent, Clare Le Serve and the challenger Rochelle Halstead.
Those who have spoken to the Sentinel-Times are adopting a ‘wait and see’ process.
The voter turnout looks set to be in the 70%-75% range, similar to the election in 2016.