SEAT OUTCOME: 2 LIB 2 ALP 1 GREEN (Called)
WINNERS: Bacon (ALP), Groom (Lib), O'Connor (Grn), Archer (Lib)
CONTEST: Ogilvie (ALP) vs Amos (ALP) - other ALP candidates getting insufficient preference flow
STATUS: Ogilvie leading and will win count. If close may be subject to protest but likely to not be close enough.
Update Sunday evening: A potentially disastrous (but hopefully harmless, albeit embarrassing) development with the news that 163 predominantly Liberal votes were destroyed as a result of an accident with a letter-opener. See the TEC press release. My understanding is that the damage to ballots occurred in the area of the Liberal column, and that this is why Liberal candidates were disproportionately affected.
On that basis it would be nice to be able to say that since there is no contest within the Liberal ticket or between the Liberals and any other ticket in Denison, that therefore the loss of these votes won't affect the outcome compared to if they had been included. Unfortunately the lost votes do have a potential impact - firstly some #1 votes were for other candidates by the sounds of it, though it is not known to me if the competing ALP candidates were among these. Secondly assuming the lost votes are mostly 1 Liberal with very few for Bacon means that Bacon's surplus becomes more valuable by maybe 25 or so votes, which could make a difference of a few votes each to the battling ALP candidates. Thirdly there is some potential for the issue to affect the point at which Robert Mallett is excluded, which might then affect which Labor candidate is elected. These are example possible impacts; there are others.
The TEC will be hoping that there are no wafer-thin margins between competing Labor candidates in the cutup, so that the issue can't alter the outcome. However even if it did, it would be surprising if a losing Labor candidate challenged their comrade's election anyway, since a by-election caused by one Labor candidate protesting another would be a terrible look for the party. That said, the Electoral Commission itself might petition as per WA.
This is an out of character event from an electoral commission that is generally a world leader in quality service and speed of information. In all the TEC counts I have witnessed over 26 years I have never seen anything like it.
Counting update Sunday night: Ogilvie leads Amos by 188 (narrowed) but has gained over Mulumba (496) and Carnes (606). It would not surprise me if Bacon's preferences helped Carnes; she should not be written off.
Tuesday 18th: On a part-rechecked update Ogilvie leads Amos by 191, Mulumba by 524, Carnes by 636. Bacon's surplus is now worth 3840 so proportionally the gap to Carnes is much the same as on the night, while that to Mulumba has grown and that to Amos has shrunk. There was some small good news in the destroyed ballots saga with eight Humpty Dumpties readmitted to the count, reducing the loss to 155. The Mercury carries the news that 72 of the destroyed ballots have no number in the ALP column. However as noted above, the loss of these 72 votes could still affect the outcome by altering the quota total, which affects the value of Scott Bacon's surplus, the value of the Liberal leftovers and potentially the exclusion point of Robert Mallett. On the other hand, even if there is a margin of, say, fifty votes between the last two Labor candidates, it is possible in theory that incomplete data from the damaged ballots can be used to determine that they could not have affected the outcome.
Scrutineering Update: I have received some scrutineering figures concerning the Bacon surplus that show that across the electorate Julian Amos is performing very well on Scott Bacon's surplus. If these figures are representative (the sample size is decent) then Amos will pass Ogilvie on Bacon's surplus and could lead by 400+ votes, while Carnes and Mulumba will be out of it. Remaining issues will then include whether the Carnes preferences favour Ogilvie, how voters for the minor Green candidates respond when they choose between an economic conservative by Labor standards (Amos) and a social conservative by Labor standards (Ogilvie), and the known unknowns of Denison's 6.7% of PUP/micro/indie riffraff. There's a bit of a case for installing Amos as the slight favourite at this point - especially given his higher profile - but without any real level of confidence.
Interestingly Amos has been quite vocal about the TEC envelope bungle while the other Labor aspirants have not yet spoken on it.
Tuesday Evening: Ogilvie's primary lead is now up to 202.
Wednesday 19th: Ogilvie's primary lead is now at 206. A possibly more important development is that through the count the Liberals have been gaining (now up to 2.30 quotas despite having some of their votes snippered) and the Greens slipping back (now down to 1.26). If this is confirmed and not just an artefact of some parties being more checked than others then it is a positive sign for Amos. As mentioned above we don't really know yet what lurks under the Green preference rock, so the potential leader of the inter-Labor race would want whatever it is to be as small as possible.
Thursday 20th: Not a lot to add here with Ogilvie's primary lead now 213.
Friday 21st: Ogilvie's lead now 216. As votes are added it's to be expected her lead will grow slightly.
Monday 24th: We're still waiting for the last of the postal votes but the TEC have sped things up by provisionally distributing Scott Bacon's surplus. The provisional distribution sees Julian Amos indeed in the lead as foreshadowed based on the scrutineering samples mentioned above, and that it is a race in two between Amos and Ogilvie. However the gap is less than projected at only 190 votes which is not a comfortable advantage for Amos.
It's also not yet a comfortable advantage for the TEC given the saga of the paper-eating letter-opener.
Leakage from the Bacon surplus has been fairly low.
Tuesday 25th: We've now seen the Groom surplus and the preference distribution for the nine candidates who embarrassed themselves by being beaten by the Socialist Alliance. Amos might have been considered a chance to profit from Liberal leakage but in fact he has made no progress today with Ogilvie now 188 behind.
9pm: A few more exclusions (including one Independent and the Socialist Alliance) and Ogilvie has made a little more progress with the lead down to 180 votes.
Wednesday 26th 1 pm: Amos has stretched his lead to 237 votes thanks to preferences from Marti Zucco.
6 pm: The margin continues to move back and forth by small amounts. Ogilvie gained 12 over Amos on leakage from Penelope Ann (Green) and another two on leakage from Deborah De Williams (Liberal) but then Amos gained seven on the exclusion of Barbara Etter (PUP). We now have one of the big ones: Alphonse Mulumba, the fourth ALP candidate, who has finished 194 behind Sharon Carnes. Carnes should be next after that and we may have a much clearer picture of this seat at this point. Incidentally some sampling reported to me showed high leakage rates in Mulumba's vote.
8:30 pm: A major development with Ogilvie gaining on the preferences of ticketmate Alphonse Mulumba to close to within 78 votes of Amos. Although Ogilvie and the candidate now excluded, Sharon Carnes, have very different factional backgrounds such distinctions are frequently lost on voters and it would not be surprising to see more support for Ogilvie here. Wherever we are after this, there will be only the preferences of Bill Harvey and Robert Mallett to go. Leakage from minor Greens candidates so far has favoured Ogilvie over Amos while Liberal leakage has been a mixed bag. At the moment I prefer Ogilvie's chances.
9:10 pm: We are most of the way through the exclusion of Carnes, and Madeleine Ogilvie is back in the lead for the first time since the primary count. She leads Amos by 33 votes, with 927 votes received by Carnes from other sources, and an 11-vote smidgin from Carnes via Elise Archer, to go before Carnes is finished. If the current margin was final it may not be the end of the matter, so whoever wins would also want to win comfortably enough to eliminate any doubt caused by the damaged ballots saga.
March 27 11am: The Carnes exclusion is finished and Ogilvie now leads by 74. It was not clear that the remaining Carnes preferences would favour Ogilvie given that many came from Bacon (whose initial preferences favoured Amos) so this is more good news for Ogilvie. We now have 4001 Bill Harvey preferences and 4408 from Robert Mallett to come to decide whether we have a clear winner today or whether the answer could be "see you in court".
12:42 pm: The Greens' preferences have favoured Ogilvie. She now leads by 507 with only the 4645 Liberal votes to come. Most of those will exhaust so the flow to Amos over Ogilvie will have to be quite pronounced to even get him inside the proverbial "margin of litigation" arising from the damaged ballot papers. (Incidentally, at this stage it is not clear exactly what that margin is; whether, for instance, a 50-vote margin would survive challenge is something that would require very careful analysis.)
2:13 pm: Amos has made some inroads on the primary-vote share of Mallett's votes but it's nowhere near enough. The gap is 366 with only 999 left to throw. Those remaining are votes that came to Mallett from Matthew Groom and Scott Bacon. Many of them will exhaust making closing down the remaining margin highly unlikely. After finishing second-last in this seat on primaries in 2010, it looks like Ogilvie has won this time around.
3:30 pm: It's over; Ogilvie has won by 331 votes.