By popular demand, I hereby open a new thread for discussion of the extraordinarily tight three-way race in the Victorian upper house region of Southern Metropolitan. Earlier expectations that the final seat would come down to a race between Labor’s Evan Thornley and the Greens’ Sue Pennicuik have been undone by an unexpectedly strong performance by the Liberals on postals, which has strengthened the hand of their third candidate David Southwick. Remarkably, the current result in quota terms is 3.00 for the Liberals, 1.99 for Labor and 1.00 for the Greens, making it a near-perfect three-way tie in the race for the final seat. The Greens have suffered the worst in late counting, such that the possibility has emerged of the Liberals winning the seat with a tiny surplus that helps elect Thornley, who will receive it as preferences ahead of the Greens’ Sue Pennicuik. The irony of Liberal preferences delivering Labor an upper house majority is being widely remarked upon, though their decision to put the Greens last always meant it was a serious possibility. Antony Green explains in comments that this is a rare occasion where below-the-line votes will prove decisive, so that "the models where you treat below-the-line votes as ticket votes" such as the calculators at Upperhouse.info "are too crude in such a close count":
What you need to do now is break the count into above and below the line votes. Add the tickets of Family First and the DLP to the Liberal vote. Add the Democrat ticket to the Greens, and People Power and Group C tickets to Laborâ€™s vote. At this point, none of these three totals reaches a full quota, though the Greens are the closest. The balance is determined by the below the line votes. Unless the relative percentage of Labor, Liberal or Green increases against the other, none of these totals will reach a quota. The real unknown is what happens if enough BTL votes drift to the Greens. If this happens, then the Democrat ticket will elect the Green, and release a small number of ticket preferences for Labor … What Labor needs to win the last spot is for as many BTL votes to drift to the Greens before the Democrat ticket is distributed. Unless the relative %â€™s of the party change again, on the current count Labor will need a surplus from the Greens to win the last spot.