Archive for November, 2008

Council updates

I’ve got a few more council results to add. In Darebin, apparently the Greens have won a seat in Rucker Ward, and are in with a chance in Cazaly Ward. We haven’t heard anything about La Trobe ward, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a chance.

In Whitehorse, Bill Pemberton has been elected in Central Ward to join Helen Harris in Elgar Ward.

In Greater Bendigo both David Jones and Julie Rivendell have been defeated for re-election.

In Maribyrnong, where the primary votes have been counted, the Greens appear to be in with a shot in both Ironbark and Sheoak.

Melbourne counting room

So I’m in the City of Melbourne counting room at Victoria University on Flinders Street and I’ll give you the current lay of the land.

As it stands for Council, Jetter, Oke (the Greens candidate), and Louey are the only ones with a quota. Ong stands on 0.93 quotas, Shanahan on 0.83, Kanis on 0.8 and Clarke on 0.74. Following that you have Jetter’s #2, Bini, on 0.65 and Leppert of the Greens on 0.48. On those numbers, it appears incredibly difficult for Rohan Leppert to win for the Greens. It will probably be one from each of the top seven polling tickets, with a chance that Bini could defeat Clarke on preferences.

As far as the Lord Mayoral race, the key numbers are:

  • Doyle – 26.38%
  • Bandt – 15.44%
  • McMullin – 12.26%
  • Ng – 10.82%
  • Singer – 10.33%
  • Others – 24.76%

So it appears that Doyle or McMullin, or possibly Ng, are the most likely to win, although Bandt could end up coming second. We should know later today.

Sunday morning update

I’m going to spend some time today at the count for the City of Melbourne, but I thought I’d start by updating on some interesting races.

In Port Phillip’s Junction Ward, Greens candidate John Middleton polled 20.25% of the primary vote, and our scrutineers indicate that he is on track for just over 60% of the vote after preferences.

In Carlisle Ward, Greens candidate Cameron Pidgeon is on 24%, with the leading candidate on less than 31% on primary votes, and has a chance of winning on preferences.

In Griffin Ward of Banyule, Greens candidate Dean Winkle is on 21.48%, trailing Jenny Mulholland on 38.24%, with a third candidate on 18.67% and a number of other candidates. While it would take a strong preference flow, it appears that Winkle was preferenced by most other candidates.

The most interesting race of election night was in Ranges Ward of Cardinia. The ward elects two councillors, and the three candidates came extremely close to each other:

  • Graeme Legge – 35.74%
  • Ed Chatwin – 32.56%
  • Linda Hamilton – 31.70% (GRN)

It appears that a preference distribution gave the second seat to Chatwin, but we haven’t got the exact numbers and this could end up as a recount.

In Kangaroo Flat in Greater Bendigo, Greens Cr David Jones sits on 32.67%, with Barry Lyons on 42.03%. The other two candidates, who collectively won 25.3%, both preferenced Jones, but he would need to win at about three-quarters of preferences to win, and some may flow to Lyons as a donkey vote, meaning the leakage rate needs to be very low for the Greens to hold on.

In Hobsons Bay’s Williamstown ward, there is a three way race:

  • Angela Altair – 39.73%
  • Michael Faltermeier – 22.3% (GRN)
  • Kate Kennedy – 22.13%
  • Other candidates – 15.84%

The gap between Faltermeier and Kennedy is only a bare seven votes, so either could pull out ahead on preferences, and either would face a hard race to win, but could overcome Altair. I hear that the Greens were treated favourably by other candidates’ HTV cards.

In Greater Bendigo’s Flora Hill ward, it appears that Greens Cr Julie Rivendell has been defeated. Her seat is the only seat the Greens appear to have lost at this election.

Election night wrap-up

So I’m calling it a night. There may be a few more results tonight, but most of the outstanding results have yet to start counting. I’ll continue reporting results tomorrow and Monday. For now, I’ve made these maps of wards in Victoria colour-coded according to the Greens’ performance. Red means that we failed to win a seat. Blue means we won a seat after previously not holding a seat. Green means we retained a Greens seat, and Yellow indicates that the result is either uncertain or no data is available. White wards had no Greens candidate.

Before I do the maps, I also have an overall seat count. On our estimates, the Greens have definitely won 14 seats, including four that have newly been won (Port Phillip, Glen Eira, Surf Coast, Queenscliffe). Three other seats are probable wins, 5 are “maybe”s, 4 are unlikely but possible, and 24 wards are definitely not going to elect a Green. In 32 cases a candidate’s fate is unknown, due to complete lack of information, although a number of these are expected to be lost.

First, inner Melbourne:

inner-melbourne

Next, a more wide-view of Melbourne:

outer-melbourne

And a map of the more rural races:victoria

Liveblogging Victorian councils

You can look up results alphabetically by clicking here.

9:31pm – People have posted a bunch of results about results in Manningham, Melbourne and Brimbank, where the sitting councillor in Harvester Ward retired and the new Greens candidate managed a quota in her own right. I’ve also been sent a bunch of results from Port Phillip which I’m gonna read now and post the interesting bits.

7:38pm – We have the second Greens gain of the night. With half the booths counted, the Greens candidate in Glen Eira Rosstown is on 26%, so should be elected.

7:25pm – I’ve updated the other page for each council for which we have information.

6:55pm – I’ve been busy scrutineering in Brunswick for Moreland South. Some results that have been coming in: it appears that the Greens candidate in Sugarloaf ward of Nillumbik has fallen short after leading on primary votes. In Surf Coast the Greens candidate is on 10% (a quota) with a small sample, and we should know more later. In Queenscliffe Lloyd Davis remains ahead with 640 votes out of 3000, and a progressive independent is coming second, on the five-member council. The race in Casey River Gum is going down to preferences, with the Greens candidate leading slightly on primary votes.

5:16pm – In Yarra Ranges, Cr Sam Dunn has been re-elected to Lyster ward, with 52% of the primary vote. Her closest rival polled 25%. In Moonee Valley, Cr Rose Iser is polling a quota on primary votes in South Ward, while the Greens candidate is going to struggle in Central Ward. In Greater Bendigo, with primary votes reporting, both Greens councillors are competitive but not safe in their races for their single-councillor wards.

4:04pm – On a sample of 1800 votes in Whitehorse Central, Bill Pemberton is on 21%, with the other Greens candidate John Vincent on 6%, which should be enough to get Pemberton elected if trends continue.

3:56pm – I’m going to set up a separate page listing results by council alphabetically. You can find it at the top of the page.

3:48pm – In Queenscliff, scrutineers are telling us that the Greens are currently running first and well over quota, so it looks like Lloyd Davies will be the new Greens councillor for Queenscliff.

2:29pm – Alright, here we go. Getting some figures in now. So far only a few small country wards have reported to the VEC. With the Greens, some results have come in through our scrutineers. In Mount Alexander, the single-member Calder Ward appears to have gone to the conservative Peter Brook Ackland, defeating Greens candidate Doug Ralph. In Whitehorse Council, Cr Helen Harris appears on track to be re-elected with a sample of 1000 votes in Elgar Ward. Greens candidate Bill Pemberton is running in Central Ward, where a sample of 300 votes currently has it too early to call, although he’s in a good position. In South Ward of Stonnington council we are on about 7% on an early sample, which would not be nearly enough to win a seat. In Yarra Ranges, Greens are running in three wards, including Lyster Ward where there is a sitting Greens councillor. In Streeton and Chandler wards the Greens have fallen short, and the incumbents will be re-elected.

12:22pm – I’m heading out to do some handing out in Moreland, but I’ll try and keep this up regularly. You can follow results at this VEC page. Apart from those country wards which saw councillors elected unopposed, only one ward has primary votes up, which is a ward of Hepburn council, near Ballarat.

Victorian council election day preview

I’m sitting in Sydney airport about to board a flight to Melbourne. I’ll be liveblogging results as they come in from Victorian Greens scrutineers today, tomorrow and probably Monday too. Unlike the NSWEC, which implemented a Virtual Tally Room for the first time for council elections in September, and the QEC, which has a lot fewer councils to deal with, the Victorian Electoral Commission doesn’t do any online results. I’m not sure how I’m gonna do this, but I figure I’ll have a liveblogging post with results listed by the order in which I receive them and have a separate page with each ward listed alphabetically with any figures we have so far. During lulls I’ll update my maps and post screenshots. This will probably consist of “red” for a loss, “green” for a win and “yellow” for a race too close to call or yet to report.

Remember that 70 of Victoria’s 79 LGAs use postal voting, and my impression is those councils will have their counting staggered over the next few days, with some reporting as early as later this morning, although there won’t be many of them. The nine councils using attendance voting, which are mostly inner-Melbourne councils, will report in the evening the way that federal and state elections do, ie. there will be a lull after 6pm then a rush as counts are tallied.

Also, I’ll only be doing council wards where Greens are running. Sorry, but the task becomes so much more difficult otherwise.

Anyway, as soon as the first results start coming in I’ll start posting figures.

Update: Dave in comments points out that there seems to be some sort of results facility on the VEC website. Hopefully that will be up-to-date, in which case I’ll focus more on compiling the Greens results and analysis, but either way I’ll be covering the results.

Maps update

I’ve updated the electoral maps for the US House of Representatives on my “maps” page. There remain four seats up for grabs. OH-15 and CA-04 remain too close to call, although in both cases the Republicans hold slight leads. LA-01 and LA-06 had their primaries disturbed by Hurricane Gustav, forcing the general election to be postponed until December. Those seats are coloured grey, and the maps will be updated when the results are clarified.

I’ve also uploaded my latest map. I am producing a map of districts for the Canadian House of Commons. So far I have only completed the map for seven provinces from Manitoba to Newfoundland. I am yet to draw the maps for Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, along with the northern territories, but it may still be of interest. You can access it here.

I’ll be in Melbourne Saturday morning, and it looks like I’ll be using this blog to post results from Victorian Greens scrutineers from results around the state on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, so look forward to that.

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Victorian local government election

I know, I know, I haven’t been keeping up with the blog since the NZ election. After an intense launch period, with elections in Canada, the USA, New Zealand, the ACT and a number of by-elections, I’ve taken some time off, but I will be back.

I’ll be in Melbourne Saturday morning as results start coming in from the Victorian local council elections. The best source of coverage is this Pollbludger thread. I have made three Google Earth maps that may have been of interest to people.

  • The first one colour-codes all Victorian wards according to how many councillors are elected in that ward. Red means 1, Yellow means 2, Blue means 3, Greens means 4, and Purple areas are councils elected without wards.
  • The second one colour-codes all Victorian wards where Greens are running.
  • The third one colour-codes all Victorian LGAs. Green areas have a sitting Greens councillor, and blue areas have a Greens candidate running.

NZ: an evolving party system

New Zealand has experienced a huge amount of change in its party system over the last two decades. The resignation of Jim Anderton from the Labour Party in 1989, which resulted in the formation of the Alliance in 1991, was followed by the formation of New Zealand First in 1993, and a huge amount of party evolution over the term of the 1993-6 Parliament. Following the first MMP election in 1996, every single party in the Parliament included former members of the Fourth Labour Government of 1984-90, including the National government.

In the early years of MMP, the minor parties were largely dominated by parties led by former major party politicians, particularly Alliance, New Zealand First and ACT. After gradual evolution, the recent campaign has moved New Zealand’s party system onto a different level.

The vast number of political parties have effectively been reduced to five parties, all of which appear to have a path to long term sustainability. The three remaining parties that were dominated by major-party splitters, NZF, UF and Progressive, were reduced to two seats. Winston Peters’ party was destroyed, while Peter Dunne and Jim Anderton have effectively been reduced to independent MPs, and their parties are expected to disappear with their eventual retirements. Indeed, this could be hastened sooner, with Dunne barely holding on over either Labour or National in his seat, with a three-way race barely going his way.

For a long time the political spectrum was crowded, with ACT, United Future and New Zealand First competing for the conservative minor party vote, and with Alliance and later Progressive competing with the Greens and later the Maori Party for the progressive minor party vote. With the demise of NZF, UF and Progressive, ACT, the Greens and to a lesser extent the Maori Party appear to be in a much stronger position to solidify their role in New Zealand politics.

Indeed, NZ politics now closely resembles German politics, with a centre-left major party, a centre-right major party, a libertarian right-wing minor party and a left-wing green party. The main divergence is the existence of the Maori Party. Such a political make-up suggests a much more stable long-term political system.

The other aspect of the 2008 campaign was the formation of pre-election coalitions, with all parties except the Maori Party clearly indicating which major party they would support. For ACT and the Greens, rather than attempting to use their seats to leverage power, they campaigned to National and Labour voters respectively as another option to vote for the same party for government while pushing them in a particular direction.

It is quite conceivable that both ACT and the Greens, which have a much clearer political niche now carved out than Progressive, United Future or New Zealand First ever did, can now carve out a long-term base that will allow them to solidify their position as supportive but critical allies of National and Labour respectively.

It is less clear what will happen to the Maori Party, who have failed to increase their party vote and will be vulnerable to a resurgent Labour Party in the Maori electorates, and would disappear if the Maori seats were eventually abolished. Yet it is clear that NZ politics is suddenly much more stable and consistent than it has been since the late 1980s.

New Zealand update

Sorry I’ve been a bit slow in posting over the last few days. I thought I’d kick off again with a summary of the results in New Zealand.

Four days after the NZ election, New Zealand is on track for its quickest government formation since the introduction of MMP, and you can’t come to any other conclusion than that last Saturday’s result was a landslide victory for the National Party and its allies.

As of the latest results, the seat distribution is:

  • National – 59
  • Labour – 43
  • Greens – 8
  • ACT – 5
  • Maori – 5
  • One seat each for Peter Dunne and Jim Anderton

National will be forming a government with ACT and Peter Dunne, and appears likely to establish some sort of relationship with the Maori Party.

In terms of a result, it was a good result for National, ACT and to a lesser extent the Greens and the Maori Party. Clearly National performed strongly and it is hard to imagine them being in a stronger position. ACT will both benefit from being National’s #1 ally, but also from having increased their numbers substantially. Many polls suggested ACT would come into government without gaining a single seat, but ended up gaining three. The Greens also gained ground, although polls suggested they would gain more ground than they did, and their influence will be dramatically reduced under a National government. The Maori Party gained ground and will be in a more influential position, but predictions of the MP sweeping the Maori seats did not come to pass, and you would have to think that this was the best opportunity to sweep out the Labour MPs in the two seats Labour held on to.

It was clearly a disastrous result for New Zealand First, and a bad result also for what remains of United Future and Progressive, both of whom have been reduced to one MP. Jim Anderton and Peter Dunne are now effectively independent MPs. Their parties should disappear when the two men retire. While Dunne, at 54, could last for many years to come, Anderton is now 70 years old, and it is only a matter of time before he retires and his seat returns to Labour.

For Labour, there are two scenarios which they could follow. It is conceivable they could return to power in 2011. The “right bloc” holds 65 seats, while the “left bloc” holds 52 seats. Only three seats need to change hands to put the Maori Party in the balance of power, and a slightly larger swing could see Labour in a very strong position to form a government with the Greens and the Maori Party. If Labour holds it together and the economy continues to decline, it’s conceivable to see a small swing back to Labour in 2011.

On the other hand, if Labour struggles to find its role in opposition, it could have a long way to fall. The re-election of the Labour government in 2002 saw former Cabinet minister Bill English suffer a massive defeat, with his National Party reduced to 27 seats. Likewise, Labour has elected a former Cabinet minister as Phil Goff, who could suffer a similar decline, if left-leaning parties like the Greens and Maori Party cannabilise Labour’s support, and Goff is not seen as a break with the Clark government. In this scenario, Key could gain a majority in Parliament, since minor parties are much weaker today than they were in 2002, and this would undoubtedly result in more of a levelling in 2014.