This post will be progressively updated to follow the late counting in the undecided seat of Indi.
Wednesday 4pm. Another 69 absents, 56 provisionals, 87 pre-polls and 70 postals have trickled, making little difference to a Cathy McGowan lead that currently stands at 395. The bigger news is that Sophie Mirabella has conceded defeat.
Tuesday 6pm. A variety of additions to the count today – 132 absents, 116 pre-polls and even 132 provisionals – which have chipped 18 votes from McGowan’s lead, now at 387. Mirabella still needs the dwindling stock of outstanding votes, now at around 1750, to break 60-40 her way.
Monday 4pm. Another 1611 pre-polls have favoured Mirabella 899-712, but they’ve been partly negated by 577 absents which continue to favour McGowan, this time by 327-250. Mirabella’s net rate of gain is less than what she needs, putting her on course for defeat by about 400 votes.
Sunday 7pm. Pre-polls are continuing to heavily favour Mirabella, a batch of 1431 breaking 842-589 her way. This is a ratio of 59-41 in a situation where 57-43 should be sufficient to win her the seat. However, the remaining votes include at least 1000 absent as well as 2000 pre-poll votes, and those have been favouring McGowan. A further 971 of the dwindling stock of postal votes was slightly below par for Mirabella in breaking only 520-421 her way.
Saturday 8pm. Along with some rechecking, just 475 absents added to the count today and they’re continuing to favour McGowan, breaking 252-223 her way and putting her lead at 837. My projection of the share of the outstanding vote Mirabella will need is up from 56.3% to 57.1%.
Friday 6pm. The first 930 absent votes have been added and are good news for Cathy McGowan, adding 98 to her lead. Postals continue to flow solidly to Mirabella, a further 1918 boosting her by 290 votes, but there can’t be too many of those left. Her overall deficit is 897 and with about 7000 votes to come, she needs something of a miracle from here.
Friday 3pm. Another 1918 postals have been added and they’ve favoured Mirabella by 290, with McGowan’s lead down to 791. Yesterday’s projection that Mirabella needed about 55% of the outstanding basically still holds. She’s doing slightly better than that on postals, but absents and pre-polls might behave very differently and single one of either has been counted yet.
Thursday evening. The addition of 1930 postal votes has clawed back 318 for Sophie Mirabella after the identification of yesterday’s polling booth error blew out Cathy McGowan’s lead from a bit under 500 to 1471. Still to come are about 2750 postals, 4500 pre-polls, and 2500 absents, which will need to break at least 55-45 Sophie Mirabella’s way. Her share of postal votes so far is 57.6%, but absents and perhaps also pre-polls will presumably be less unlike ordinary votes.
Wednesday 4pm. A sensational development today with the emergence of a counting error at the Wangaratta pre-poll vote centre which was costing Cathy McGowan a bundle of 1000 votes. As David Barry notes in comments, McGowan had hitherto been doing 15% worse in the Wangaratta pre-poll booth than in the ordinary booth vote compared with a more typical 7% at other pre-poll centres, a discrepancy which disappears if 1000 votes are added to McGowan counts. Where McGowan’s lead had dramatically scaled back to 498 votes on latest counting, it can now be regarded as out to 1498, which almost certainly decides the result.
Monday 5pm. All the fixed polling both two-candidate counts are in, giving McGowan a solid looking lead of 24,840 to 23,086. Better modelling of my own in comments variously gives her 50.5% and 50.3% after pre-poll voting centres are added. However, there remains to come the very large number of postals, pre-polls and absents which seem likely to rein that in, the question being by how much. So a fair bit of entertainment left to come, it would appear.
Monday 3.30pm. The AEC is conducting a two-candidate preferred preference count between Mirabella and McGowan, going through the booths in alphabetical order. Since the largest centres in the electorate start with a “W” (Wangaratta and Wodonga), larger towns are unrepresented in the sample so far, which has Mirabella leading McGowan 14850 to 14569. I have attempted to model the relationship between the preference split and a given booth’s combined Labor and Greens preference flow, without a huge amount of success – the relationship is highly significant, but it only explains 24.4% of the variation. For what it’s worth though, the resulting model (preferences to McGowan equal 0.73*0.331x, where x equals the combined Labor and Greens vote) gives McGowan a 690 vote lead, remembering that this doesn’t include postals, pre-poll and absent votes.
Election night. Antony Green has Sophie Mirabella leading Cathy McGowan 29567 to 27880, which is presumably a projection because the AEC has no preference count and will presumably do one today or tomorrow. The primary votes are 44.4% for Mirabella to 32.2% for independent Cathy McGowan, which will be hard to overhaul with the available preferences from Labor (11.3%), the Greens (3.2%) and 9% others.