THE first results from the South Gippsland Shire Council election are in.

And after 75 per cent of the ‘Group A’ votes in the Tarwin Valley Ward have been counted, Leongatha businessman and sports administrator John Schelling is leading on 2068 votes from Leongatha business owner Clare Williams on 1432 votes.

Should the pair be successful, they won’t have to travel far to compare notes, they live only a few doors down from each other in the same street in Leongatha.

Former South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Don Hill is back on the next line of voting with 582 first preference votes, but by no means out of the count, expected to pick up the bulk of the preferences from Lindsay Love’s followers 378, and those who voted ‘1’ for Andrew Corcoran 125 and Les Harmer 255.

But whether he gets a quota in a count that looks set to be dominated by Schelling and Williams is anyone’s guess.

Adrian Darakai 643 and former councillor Rosemary Cousin 628 loom as equally well favoured to take the third position in Tarwin Valley.

Here are the ‘first preference’ votes that were counted on Thursday by the Victorian Electoral Commission:

* Jeremy Curtis 355

* Lindsay Love 378

* Andrew Corcoran 125

* Adrian Darakai 643

* Rosemary Cousin 628

* John Schelling 2068

* Nicole Edwards-Galal 258

* Clare Williams 1432

* Don Hill 582

* Leslie Harmer 255

Total 6724

Having extracted the votes from the voting envelopes and checked off the names of the voters earlier in the week, the VEC formally commenced counting first preference votes on Thursday.

Counting in the Strzelecki and Coastal Promontory Wards will be held on Friday.

Group A votes represent the bulk of the votes received from the general mailout, but the vote cannot be finalised until the last of the postal votes are in, at the cut off time of 12 noon, on Friday, November 5.

Coastal Promontory votes will be counted from 8.45am on Friday and Strzelecki votes from 1pm on Friday.