AN intriguing situation is unfolding in counting for the Strzelecki Ward of the South Gippsland Shire Council.

After tallying up the available first preference votes on Friday, only two things appear clear, that (1.) the candidate effectively endorsed by the Korumburra business community, Milpara Community House Manager Jenni Keerie looks certain to get elected, and (2.) neither of the councillors from the past regime, Andrew McEwen and Frank Hirst, stand any chance of getting elected.

For the others; David Amor, Jim Forbes, Mick Felton and Nathan Hersey; it will come down to preferences before the other two positions are filled.

As it stands; the Group A ‘first’ preference votes counted so far have stacked up as follows:

* David AMOR ……….906

* Jim FORBES ……….1137

* Mick FELTON ……..1216

* Frank HIRST ………..437

* Andrew McEWEN …454

* Nathan HERSEY …..1072

* Jenni KEERIE ……….1553

Total ………………………6775

It has been reported that a further 1700 to 2000 Group B votes are still to be counted before the all-important preferences are allocated on Tuesday, November 9 and the result declared.

‘Group A’ returns are ballot paper envelopes that arrived on or before the close of voting, which can proceed to scrutiny and the count.

‘Group B’ returns will include ballot paper envelopes received through the post during the week. This includes any ballot paper envelopes returned from voters from the general mail-out that have only one vote marked in the system, those votes where multiple issues are recorded in the system (e.g. a general mail-out vote and one or more replacement votes), and any unenrolled votes.

Until all Group B returns have been processed, and ballot papers proceeding to count data entered, the VEC will not have final first preferences or a completed result to share with interested parties.