VOTING patterns are starting to emerge in the Bass Coast Shire Council election as “extraction” of primary votes continued at-a-pace on Friday.
There was a flurry of ballot papers received on Friday, October 30 with an additional 1000-plus received in the Island and Bunurong but with more than 3000 additional votes coming in at the last minute in Westernport Ward.
In the Island contest, it’s already hard to see sitting councillor Michael Whelan, as well as President of Phillip Island Landcare David Rooks and small business operator Ron Bauer getting rolled from here.
Scrutineers say Michael Whelan is so far leading the voting with 1945 of the 7451 votes counted at last notification. Ron Bauer has 1619 and David Rooks 1584 while the next best is Jeni Jobe 694.
But these numbers will not be confirmed until an electronic count is conducted by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).
So far there are 11315 votes in, which means there are still more to be extracted from their voting envelopes on Monday, November 2 and possibly Wednesday, November 4 but if the pattern continues, even an unfavourable distribution of preferences away from these candidates would not be enough to stop them being elected.
In the other wards, Brett Tessari is believed to be in the leading position in Bunurong Ward, taking in parts of Inverloch and Wonthaggi, with Leticia Laing also doing well in the indicative count and likely to be elected. The race for the third position in Bunurong seems to be between sitting councillor Les Larke and challenger Michael Nugent with the other sitting council Julian Brown trailing off in an early counting of votes.
It would be quite some feat if Les Larke could take that final third position after the muck that’s been thrown at him in the run up to the poll but win or lose, it hardly likely we’ve seen the last of that issue or Les Larke.
In Westernport Ward, votes are being extracted and counted today, Saturday, and given that there is only one candidate to be eliminated, it’s likely there will be a result here on Monday.
The challenger, Rochelle Halstead, is considered a good chance of unseating one of the incumbents either Geoff Ellis, Clare Le Serve or Bruce Kent, but only time will tell.
The only advice on the Victorian Electoral Commission website at the moment is: “Voting in the 2020 local council elections has now closed. Results will be available after Friday 30 October 2020, following the close of the postal vote receipt period.”
Candidates have been given advice about the counting of the primaries only. Preferential voting is not expected to start until Monday.
There will be no counting of votes on Tuesday, November 3 for the ‘Race that Stops the Nation’ and any additional counting will have to continue on Wednesday.