Photo finish: Solomon

This post will not be further updated. Results below are not final. For up-to-date results visit the AEC’s Virtual Tally Room site.

2007 2004
Booths 20,957
Pre-Poll 3,631
Absent 411
Postal 802
Provisional 52
Total 25,853
ALP (adjusted) 50.2
LIB (adjusted) 49.8

Saturday evening. This post will be used to follow the final stages of the count in Solomon, where at the close of election night counting the ABC computer has Country Liberal Party incumbent Dave Tollner 0.2 per cent ahead of Labor candidate Damien Hale. On raw figures from the AEC Hale is 1.0 per cent ahead, but the Liberals performed strongly on absent, pre-poll and postal votes in 2004.

Sunday evening. Solomon seems to produce a lot of pre-polls: if the numbers are similar to last time, there’s still only 30 per cent counted. These are have so far produced a slightly bigger swing than the booth votes, adding 0.1 per cent to Damian Hale’s adjusted lead.

Monday evening. It seems only rechecking was done today.

Tuesday 4pm. Still nothing, but comments chat informs us that pre-polls still to come which include those from more conservative Palmerston. Postal votes lean the CLP’s way in Solomon due to overseas Defence Force personnel.

Tuesday 11pm. 485 absent votes have broken 255-230 Damian Hale’s way, though only in marginally greater proportion than they did for Labor in 2004. This puts Damian Hale’s lead at a very handy 718 votes, but the ABC reports that “Australian Electoral Commission says staff will count 1,500 electronically lodged military votes tomorrow (and more pre-poll votes on Thursday)”, suggesting Tollner can expect a boost in tomorrow’s counting.

Wednesday 5pm. As foreshadowed, 1587 new “postal” votes have been added, presumably the military votes referred to in the previous entry, and they have split 939-648 in Tollner’s favour. This is not greatly out of proportion with the result on postals from 2004, although it cuts Hale’s lead to 427 votes.

Thursday 5pm. Another 2572 pre-polls have narrowed the gap by a further 166 votes, to 262. I am informed via comments that there are “an estimated 1500 to 2000 more pre-polls from interstate and overseas”, suggesting there were a lot more of these than at the last election. If they continue to go 53 per cent Tollner’s way, he should claw back a little over 100 more votes. However, 2004 patterns suggest Hale should pick up a little on provisional votes and remaining absent votes.

Monday 3pm. Tollner has made up 79 votes from the counting of 1693 pre-polls from interestate (thanks to ALP Campaign Genius for the info in comments), cutting the Labor lead from 262 to 183.

Monday 8pm. Tollner keeps whittling away that lead, a further 225 postal votes going 133-92 his way and reducing the deficit to 142.

Tuesday 11pm. Hale gains 20 from the counting of 84 provisionals, but loses five from 21 absents. He now leads by 158.

Wednesday 8pm. Here as elsewhere, Labor is slowly dying a death of a thousand cuts. Today saw another 767 pre-polls cut the lead from 158 to 89. There are another 820 to come, which will leave it almost dead even if they go the same way as the last batch. On top of that are 200 absents and even smaller handfuls of provisionals and postals which should break more or less evenly.

Thursday 8pm. A huge reversal of late-count fortune has probably sealed the deal for Hale. A batch of 297 pre-polls, presumably coming from a Labor area, broke 188-109 his way; 267 absent votes favoured him 148 to 119; and further postals went only 59-57 in favour of Tollner. Hale now leads by 194.

Friday 8pm. With only tiny trickles of votes still coming in (three pre-polls for Hale and one for Tollner, plus five postals each), Hale has claimed victory. This post will close for business unless there’s some surprise late development.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

99 comments on “Photo finish: Solomon”

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  1. About 800 provisional votes were counted in 04 they went 51% to Labor.
    The AEC issued 7926 pre poll votes, 5506 have been recieved and 2370 have been counted so there are 3136 recieved but not counted and 2420 issued but not recieved, so potentially there are 5556 prepolls to count, in 04 they went 57/42 to Tollner.
    If the swing to Labor holds up with the prepolls and they pick up a few in the provisionals they might just scrap in

  2. Re: Comment 9, by ‘NOT SO MAD MAX’ :
    “I can safely say that I don’t think Maurice F. and his immediate family would have pre-polled though (LOL)”.
    You make some interesting comments, Max… I haven’t spent much time on blogs to date… what does LOL mean? Lord, oh Lord?
    I hope in my ‘immediate family’ you only include Jaques Chester, the reasonable LDP candidate, to whom I gave my No. 2 – and not the ‘Witchburner’ Trudy Campbell, to whom I gave No. 6…!

    Re: Comment 2 by ‘dartboard’:

    “… the Empty News (as the Crocodile, Dingo and Road Crash Gazette is described by locals) …”
    Beautiful. I’d never heard it before. May I use it? I love it: The MT News… !

    Re: All the above comments…
    I hope all you commentators spent as much time considering the choices you did have before the election as you are wasting now pretending that there is still some sort of sports contest going on! The election is over. While its amusing to guess which way things will go, it doesn’t actually achieve any deeper understanding of what its all supposed to be about… democracy. May as well talk about last century’s left-right schema, or wonder whether people with red shoes vote Labor…

    How did any of you actually vote, BTW…?
    I voted this way: Foley, Chester, Hudson, Hale, Tollner, Campbell…
    i.e. considering the ‘real’ choice we had, I voted:
    21st Century ‘non-modern’ philosophy, 18th Century libertarianism, 20th Century dolphin kissing, 19th Century Aussie Lite, 19th Century Aussie Low, 16th Century ‘Witchburner’ … see for more…
    [with the single proviso that by ‘Aussie Lite’ I mean Rudd – not DH, who is clearly no bimbo – and whom I thought would have had it won [damn, back to the racing analogies again!] by 8pm on Sat. night. I thought the 2PP would be min 52.5 – 47.5 to DH.
    I have to congratulate DT though… Surely now people will stop calling him stupid. ‘Dopey Dave’ is not – and never was dopey (I’ve known and liked him since ’86) and, in the circumstances Dave has done unbelievably well… Commentators who think Dave Tollner’s remarkable performance (doing much better than his party – as he did in 2004) is due only to dissatisfaction with Clare do not know Darwin. Dave is genuinely popular… not least [but not only] among those simpletons who think that they too could be Member for Solomon… if only they had more time to read the NT News!

    Final comment for now…
    First, to Clare and Syd
    Vale Clare, Syd and your families. Please do stay on as you promised… you both have enough understanding of how difficult it is to get anything lasting done up here that you will not be destabilising influences on the back-bench or anywhere else you want to work… After having good, long, necessary holidays… anywhere you feel like – to restart your own lives…
    The way you were able to hand over – at an excellent time – to people who have been well groomed is an absolute credit to you both…

    I attended their last press conference [as TiM, Territory independent Media] and thought they both look energetic enough to be around for a long time to come…
    As for the other media present as Clare and Syd handed over so gracefully – generously and obviously genuinely thanking their families and long-term public servants who helped them ‘over the line’ in the critical years when our population actually fell as the non-investment of the CLP ‘bit’, leading to falling receipts while facing a billion dollar deficit :
    The bimbo local journos – ABC Lite, MT News et al. -almost spoiled an historic occasion with idiotic questions like “were u pushed? – who told u to go? are u afraid to face Rudd? are u leaving us with no talent?” etc.
    Do none of you bimbos remember what things were like during the ‘cowboy’ years…? Or would you actually prefer a return to the cowboy years…?
    Or are you – like so many of the electorate – so simplistic [and under-educated] that you think government is easy, and that ‘anyone with half a brain could do as good a job’ as Clare or Syd have actually DONE…?
    …And Clare and Syd – and those who supported them – have actually DONE a great thing… they [as Clare did actually say in her short – much too short, actually – ‘good-bye’] “brought NT governance into the 21st century …”


    Today’s pre-polls were 1365-1207 in Tollner’s favour (that’s the same percentage split as the first batch).

    Hale now leads by 270.

    Still to come: about 1200 Provisionals (though not all will be admitted); about 300 Absentees (from outside NT); and an estimated 1500 – 2000 more Pre-Polls from interstate and overseas.

    The remaining Pre-Polls won’t be counted until Monday.

    I’m going to have trouble sleeping this weekend!

  4. Yes, thanks for the detailed info A C G.
    While not comforting, it does amswer my anxiety driven concerns about “whats left”.
    I remain positive but a little less confidant than 3 days ago. Of the groups remaining to be counted, the overseas group concerns me the most because they may have cast their vote without having advantage of the last week of campaign information which included issues like the racial smear that was attempted in Lindsay or the Today Tonight joint interview (LOL).

    BTW , I would still rather have your Grey “super bank interest” wager.

  5. Hey Max, believe me, I’m as nervous as you. I’ll be devastated if Damo doesn’t hang on. Being an ALP campaigner, I’ve worked with/for some forgettable candidates. But Damian is one of the best – a genuine guy who’d be an asset both to Parliament and the good burghers of Darwin and Palmerston.

    By the way, the AEC shows the margin is 262, not 270 – I got my info directly from Scrutineers but there has probably been some correction since.

    I’m hoping that we don’t do too badly out of votes from OS. Often OS Postal and Pre-Poll votes are better for Labor than those cast in Aus. I’ve Scrutineered at many close counts (Kingston 1998, Adelaide 2001, Kingston and Hindmarsh 2004) and the worst batches of Postals (from an ALP point of view) are usually the first few. That’s probably because most of the first Postals counted are posted locally by older voters (including Registered Postal Voters).

    Adelaide 2001 was easily the most depressing count I’ve ever experienced. After leading by more than 1000 votes on election night, we took fatal blows on every single day of counting for the next two weeks. Everything was a disaster: fresh scrutiny of booths, Postals, Pre-Polls and Absentees. We were massacred on the lot. We even lost Provisionals!

    In that ghastly fortnight, we only had one tiny consolation – we won the batch of votes cast in London by one vote!

  6. Thanks for the update Genius. I too remain hopeful, though am seeing the dollars slip away.

    Quick (stupid?) question…..for the Lib leadership contest yesterday, did Tollner and other undecided members vote?


  7. OK.. so the AEC website now says:

    11894 envelopes received

    Absent 641
    Provisional 1236
    Pre-poll 6517
    Postal 3500

    and the votes counted:

    Absent 496
    Provisional 0
    Pre-poll 5013
    Postal 1621

    for a diference of 4774

    85.96 counted plus 4774/57450 (which is 8.29!) gives: 94.25%

    is that in the ballpark?

  8. I think it is.
    Have checked the available figures and it supports those posted by DB.
    I thought I read somewhere that last time (2004) only 91% of that electoral roll actually voted. Wishful thinking now, “the fewer the better” LOL.
    This is excruciating, I can’t imagine what Damien or Dave are going through right now.

  9. So has the number of postals received really more than doubled from 2004 to 2007? Ouch.

    If that’s so, Tollner needs something like 54.5 2PP of remaining postals if all other vote types hold at around present levels and assuming provisionals swing by as much as the rest? (That’s what my back of envelope effort makes it anyway).

  10. 63
    and 7130 of the 12818 Envelopes Received counted so far.

    This confuses the issues a bit for me…………………………….

    Envelopes Issued 2,892
    Envelopes Received 3,504

    More received than Issued. How does this happen? Any ideas or have I overlooked something really obvious?

  11. Today’s action is as follows (info from the AEC):

    – 1500 Interstate Pre-polls (from Vic, Qld, WA, SA and Tas)
    – 200 Postal Votes

    The AEC in Darwin has not yet received Interstate Pre-polls from NSW and ACT.

    I’m actually in Darwin now so I’ll be scrutineering.

    P.S. No word from the AEC on Provisionals … hope to get more info on that later today.

  12. UPDATE:

    That batch of Pre-polls turned out to be 1739 and 1692 of them were Formal Votes.

    Tollner won them by 84 votes (888-804).

    Hale’s overall lead is now 178.

    The Postals will be counted this afternoon.

  13. Actually it was a slightly better percentage for Damian than the Pre-polls that had come in before then. And the numbers have been slightly updated in that batch of Pre-polls to give us a net gain of 5 from what I posted earlier.

    This afternoon’s Postals broke 133-92 for Tollner (consistent percentage with Postals received before today).

    Hale’s lead is now 142.

    I’d make Hale a slight favourite. Maybe $1.50 to win from here 🙂

  14. Thanks for all that detail ACG, I’m feeling a little more confident than previously. I hope my friend, the Oz worker is feeling a little better too.

  15. from ABC website:

    Labor leads Solomon count by slim margin

    The Country Liberal Party’s Dave Tollner has edged closer to Labor rival Damian Hale in the race for the Northern Territory seat of Solomon.

    A further 230 postal votes and 1,740 pre-poll votes were counted today, with Mr Tollner now trailing by 142 votes.

    Only a small number of votes will be counted tomorrow and a further 1,000 will be counted on Wednesday.

    The Australian Electoral Commission says about 90 per cent of the votes cast have been counted.

  16. That “small number” is about 100 votes made up of Provisionals and Absentees. They will be counted after lunch today.

    The 1000 on Wednesday are Pre-Polls from NSW, ACT and 4 of the 15 electorates in WA (I don’t know which 4, but I’m guessing that they are WA’s rural/regional seats).

    And that’s nearly it. The only other votes possible are Postals that have not yet been received and the AEC will also recheck 700 Pre-Polls that had initially been ruled out. I doubt that will produce much more.

    Tollner now needs around 57% of what’s left – given that they’re mostly Pre-Polls (and he’s only been getting 53% of them so far), that’s encouraging for Labor.

  17. That’s the sort of thing I’d say Fatcat 🙂

    Today’s Provisionals were 52-32 in Hale’s favour; today’s Absentees were 13-8 in Tollner’s favour.

    Also, a Postal Vote that was originally called Informal was counted for Hale. His lead should now be 158.

    The AEC hopes to count the outstanding 1000 Pre-Polls tomorrow. I’ll post again if I get more information this arvo.

  18. My two biggest outlays were Solomon and Robertson and I’m very nervous about both.
    Sounds too close still for my liking here but does anyone how Robertson is doing (it hasn’t got a thread)?

  19. V, as of 12:31 PM today, Labor was ahead in Robertson by 249 votes (43, 168 vs 42, 919 2PP), according to the latest info available on the AEC website.

  20. It now appears (but correct me if I am wrong) that there are 1738 votes yet to count comprising 1597 pre-polls and 141 postals (are these final figures and if not when do they have to be finalised?). According to my calculations Tollner needs around 55.5% of these remaining votes to win. If they split according to the results thus far he will get 83 to 58 on the postals reducing Hales lead to 133, and with pre polls splitting at approx 53-47 Tollner should get 923 to Hales 815. This leaves Hale in the lead by 25! So still very good cause for nervousness V!

  21. 790 Pre Polls today and 767 were Formal. Tollner won them by 69 votes (418-349).

    Damian’s lead is now 89.

    There are 260 more votes expected: 200 Pre Polls from overseas and 60 Postals. They will be counted tomorrow morning.

    Tollner got 54.50% 2PP in today’s batch – a little better than what he’d been getting in Pre Polls before today.

  22. UPDATE:

    The AEC now advises that 410 International (Pre Poll) Votes and 70 Postal Votes remain. There is also likely to be about 20 Pre Polls admitted that were initially rejected.

    250 of the International Votes and the 70 Postals will be counted tomorrow. The other 160 will be counted on Friday.

  23. Going on what has been happening lately it looks like Tollner will get up…just. Given that it will be very close will a recount be demanded by the losing party? Under what circumstances is this allowed to take place?

  24. Hale by 80…

    Tollner by 80….

    well.. Id be guessing that band is now down to 40 votes

    Hale by less than 20 or Tollner by less than 20 would be damn near it.

  25. Can someone tell me why the numbers in relation to absentee and postal votes issued keeps changing? Shouldn’t the issued number stay the same? When will it end?

  26. It’s over.

    After this morning’s counting of Postals, Absentees and Pre Polls, Hale’s lead grew to 186. There aren’t even that many votes left.

    I’m over the moon!

  27. Great result for NT ALP and for the NT.
    Congrats to DH, Cathy, The Oz Worker, Kezz, Super Tim, Manimal and the whole bloody crew. No hubris here, it was a tough contest.

  28. I know. From soccer tragic to Campaign Genius.
    Now I have two reasons to feel like a King. I can Crowe about, the forthcoming 2008 premiership and DH’s victory.
    As STC would say, BOOSHKA !!

  29. Incidentally, there is a bit of a lesson in the Solomon count (and other counts) for you amateur psephos.

    Trying to predict the outcome of what happens in the last week or last few days of counting on the basis of early trends in Pre Polls and Postals is a mug’s game.

    Usually you don’t know where the votes are going to come from and it’s certainly difficult to know how many will come.

    Also, Labor tends to do better in Postals and Pre Polls that are received towards the end of the counting fortnight – I’ve seen it happen so many times.

    The reasons should be obvious. The Postals that are counted soon after Election Day are mainly the ones that are cast by permanent postal voters and other older voters – the age group that is most anti-Labor. Later in the fortnight, you get Postals that come from interstate and overseas from people that wouldn’t normally have to cast them but do so because they are away/travelling.

    After getting a flogging of about 60/40 on Postal Votes, Damian only lost the last real batch by 3 votes. I was scrutineering so I can tell you that a lot of the envelopes had Air Mail stickers on them.

    While I would never have predicted that Damian would win the last batch of Pre Polls by better than 2:1, I did expect that lot to be better than the Pre Polls that had already been counted. They were from overseas (mostly London – a booth Labor can usually count on).

    Three years ago, Steve Georganas only led by between 50 and 60 votes going into the final day of counting in Hindmarsh and a similar thing happened. He ended up winning by more than 100.

    (This is also why we’ve made small comebacks in other tight seats. See what’s been happening in McEwen?)

    Remember all that next time folks…

  30. Good info for the memory bank ACG and not the sort of intricate knowledge that can be read in some sort of dry text book. It is the kind of thing that sorts the “opinion” bloggers on PB from the people who have something of substance to offer others.

    On another matter, “D T “‘s has not been seen for days. My tip is he’s having the polly version of a “mad Monday”. The CLP are having a crack at Len about his very poor behaviour, but have convieniently forgotten “DT”‘s trackrecord. Hypocrasy at it’s best from Jody and her Tarago party.
    Until next time we converse STC, Merry Xmas to you and yours, Cheers, KC.

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