Barton electorate hangs in the balance as votes recounted

UPDATE 6.15pm: Labor’s lead in Barton dropped to 68 votes after a recount today.

The outcome will depend on more than 12,000 postal and absentee votes, a higher number than earlier predicted by some campaign officials.

Returning officer for Barton, Gloria Burgess, said they hoped to start counting about 5000 postal tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning.

Counting of more than 7000 absentee votes was likely to take place on Thursday and Friday, she said.

Full election coverage in tomorrow’s Leader.

Monday morning: Labor is hanging on to a slight lead as a recount of votes in the seat of Barton takes place.

At the start of the day, Labor candidate Steve McMahon was ahead of his Liberal rival Nick Varvaris by just 62 votes.

The margin slipped from 98 votes on election night after votes from two special hospital booths were counted yesterday.

The outcome will depend on an estimated 10,000 postal and absentee votes yet to be counted.

Postal votes normally favour the Liberals, although this time they include a new element of about 1000, which were applied for on the internet.

‘‘Cliff-hanger’’: Pandechis Elias (left) and Josie Vecchio recount votes in the seat of Barton. Picture:  Chris Lane

‘‘Cliff-hanger’’: Pandechis Elias (left) and Josie Vecchio recount votes in the seat of Barton. Picture: Chris Lane

Absentee votes are expected to slightly favour Labor.

Labor candidate Steve McMahon said the influence of  Independent Michael Nagi, who preferenced the Liberals, had helped make it such a tight result.

Mr Nagi said he has set out to make Barton a marginal seat, and ‘‘my dream has come true’’.

Liberal candidate Nick Varvaris could not be contacted.

Full story in tomorrow’s Leader.

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