Thursday 5pm. Rob Mitchell’s lead continues to edge slightly upwards, from 312 to 329, with absents continuing to favour him strongly (249-195 in the latest batch) and provisionals finally added (246-189 in his favour), cancelling out a 503-422 split to Petrovich on pre-polls and 129-116 from the latest postals.
Wednesday 4pm. Things continue to trend gently Rob Mitchell’s way, with 967 pre-polls favouring him 495-472 (in line with the overall pre-poll trend) and increasing his lead from 289 to 312. Most of the votes to come are absents and pre-polls (about 1800 and 1400 respectively), which have been slightly favouring him. There should also be maybe 800 postals, which have been going against him but not forcefully enough to suggest he should lose from here.
Tuesday 6pm. McEwen is firming up for Rob Mitchell as the early favourable trend on pre-polls has been maintained with the latest batch, with over half now counted (nearly 3000 with 2500 to spare). In breaking 998-900 Mitchell’s way, they have increased his lead from 192 to 289. Still to come: about 1800 absent votes, which on past form should boost Mitchell a further 200; about 400 or 500, which should give him maybe a few dozen extra votes; perhaps as many as 2500 pre-polls, which appear likely to be no worse than neutral for Mitchell; and maybe 800 postals, which will probably go slightly against him. By my count, the proportion of uncounted votes Donna Petrovich needs is up from 51.3% to 52.6%.
Monday 4pm. A further 932 absents have been just as favourable for Rob Mitchell as the first batch, going 513-419 his way, and he has had an encouraging start on the counting of pre-polls, which have favoured him 497-458. His overall lead has increased from 97 to 199. Projecting the uncounted votes (about 1800 absents, 4300 pre-polls and 800 postals, plus a handful of provisionals) suggests Mitchell should pull further ahead, but this is an unsafe assumption – with only 955 out of nearly 6000 pre-polls counted, it may be that those in so far are from areas favourable to Mitchell. Too close to call.
Sunday 7pm. Rob Mitchell hit the lead today on a strong performance on absent votes, which are presumably most concentrated across the boundary at suburban, Labor-voting Craigieburn and Mernda. As well as gaining 1016-846 on the absents, Mitchell also had a good batch of 968 postals, breaking 531-437 his way. All told, Mitchell has gained 250 votes to lead by 97, with about 2500 absents to go together with an entirely untouched complement of 5868 pre-polls, and an ongoing trickle of postals. Mitchell will be hoping the absents give him a sufficient buffer against a likely swinging back of the pendulum when pre-polls are finally counted.
Friday 3pm. The first 1887 absent votes have been good for Rob Mitchell, breaking 1070-817 his way and cutting the Liberal lead by 253. Another 2428 postals have been also been slightly less bad for Rob Mitchell than previous batches, adding only 58 to Donna Petrovich’s lead which now sits at 405. An improvement for Mitchell on absents is consistent with the 2010 result, and with 4000 of these to come together with a further 4000 pre-polls (which were worse for Labor than ordinary votes in 2010, but only slightly), this one isn’t over.
Thursday evening. The Liberal lead is up from 105 to 331 after 2449 postals improved their position by 165, with a further 61 gained on the ordinary vote count. Still to come are over 3000 postals, over 4000 pre-polls and 6000 absents. Absents at least were strong for Labor in 2010, albeit that the boundaries were different then, and will need to do so again this time.
Wednesday 5pm. The addition of 5859 postal votes have seen Donna Petrovich sneak to a 105-vote lead, but there are still no absents or pre-polls in the count. The substantial change to this electorate in the redistribution, which added the outer Melbourne of Sunbury, makes comparison with 2010 difficult.
Sunday 6pm. I’m not exactly sure where we’re at with the count, but the raw vote has soured quite markedly for Rob Mitchell, who now has a lead of just 73 votes, 38,884 to 38,811.
Election night. Liberal candidate Donna Petrovich, who gave up a seat in the state upper house to make her run, has given Labor member Rob Mitchell a fright, but will probably just fall short. The ABC calculates a swing of 8.6% off a margin of 9.2%, with a couple of pre-poll voting centres yet to report out of the ordinary election night count.