9:32pm: The fourth booth has reported from Blain and Terry Mills has moved into second place. We don’t have a preference count between Labor and Mills, but he would need to pick up a lead of about 9% off the back of 27% of the vote for the CLP and 5.3% for another independent. If Mills can hold on to second place, I don’t think we’ll know the result in this seat tonight.
9:23pm: Three independents have won seats. Former CLP members Kezia Purick and Robyn Lambley have retained their respective seats of Goyder and Araluen, with Gerry Wood re-elected in Nelson. Terry Mills has fallen into third in Blain, and looks unlikely to win, while Delia Lawrie is narrowly behind Labor in Karama.
9:22pm: The Country Liberal Party is holding the new seat of Spillett and look likely to win Daly, but we’re still waiting for more votes. The CLP is narrowly ahead of Labor in Namatjira, but the ABC projects that Labor will gain this seat once more regional votes are reported.
9:19pm: Labor is currently leading in nineteen seats. Labor’s seven incumbent MLAs have all been re-elected. The party has definitely gained Arnhem, Drysdale, Fong Lim, Sanderson and Stuart, which gives them twelve seats. Labor is leading in Arafura, Brennan, Port Darwin and Blain but I’d want to wait for some more votes before calling. That brings Labor to sixteen seats. Labor is also narrowly ahead in Braitling, Katherine and Karama. The latter seat of Karama is a contest between Labor and their former leader Delia Lawrie, now an independent.
9:11pm: I’m not sure what’s happened in Blain. It now appears that Terry Mills has fallen into third place, which is confusing because there doesn’t appear to have been any more booths reported, and all three booths seem to have Mills in third, which doesn’t fit with him taking an early lead and falling behind. Will have to come back to this seat.
9:04pm: On the current numbers, I have Labor on track for 15 seats, CLP 3, independent 4, and there are three that are very close: Braitling, Karama and Katherine. So Labor could end up on 18 seats.
8:53pm: Labor has gained the lead in Arafura, and Karama is now a very close race between the Labor candidate and the ex-Labor independent Delia Lawrie.
8:36pm: Braitling is a nailbiter. Labor’s candidate is leading outgoing chief minister Adam Giles by 21 votes. We’ve seen a small parcel of postal votes, although there are presumably more to come, but we now have all of the ordinary booths reporting.
8:24pm: We have a lot more votes in Arnhem, and Labor looks clearly on track to gain that seat from ex-CLP independent Larisa Lee, who is languishing on 4.3%.
8:07pm: Two in particular to look at are Katherine and Braitling. Both of these seats stayed with the CLP when they were destroyed in 2005. We have three booths in from Katherine. The CLP’s Willem Westra van Holthe is leading on primary votes but Labor’s Sandra Nelson narrowly leads after preferences are distributed. We have two booths in from Braitling. Sitting chief minister Adam Giles is leading on primary votes but Labor’s Dale Wakefield does quite well out of preferences and is leading.
8:02pm: As for Labor’s gains, most of these seats are very close or just based on small numbers, but Labor looks like they have a chance of gaining Arnhem, Braitling, Brennan, Drysdale, Fong Lim, Katherine, Namatjira, Port Darwin and Sanderson. If Labor won all these seats they would win a comfortable majority.
7:59pm: It’s a bit hard to keep up with all of the seats which are now in place. Independents have either won or are in a good position to win these seats:
7:29pm: At the moment the CLP looks likely to lose Sanderson, Arnhem, Drysdale and Brennan to Labor and Blain, Goyder, and Araluen to ex-CLP independents, although some of these are based on small votes. We don’t know anything from Fong Lim, Arafura, Daly, Stuart, Port Darwin and Braitling. It’s too early to interpret the numbers in Katherine, Spillett or Namatjira, but we could be on track for a landslide defeat for the CLP.
7:27pm: Ex-CLP independent Kezia Purick is also looking good to win her seat of Goyder.
7:24pm: CLP is behind in another traditional Palmerston-area seat. In Brennan, Labor leads on primary votes off two booths.
7:23pm: In the Palmerston-area seat of Blain, independent candidate Terry Mills, who held the seat until 2014, is neck-and-neck with former federal Labor MP Damian Hale on primary votes from one booth. The CLP, who technically hold the seat, are in a distant third.
7:17pm: We have two booths in from Arnhem. The sitting MP Larisa Lee was elected for the CLP but left the party to become an independent. Lee is polling a very distant third, with Labor on over 60% of the vote. Looks like a Labor gain but too early to call.
7:16pm: I’ve already mentioned Sanderson and Drysdale as two seats where Labor is doing well. It looks fairly certain that they have gained these seats.
7:02pm: Labor is looking good in the CLP seat of Sanderson in northern Darwin. The picture is very fuzzy but we’re seeing a consistent trend of the CLP going backwards, and not by a little.
7:00pm: Still early numbers but former Labor leader (now independent) Delia Lawrie is leading on the primary vote in Karama, CLP-turned-independent Robyn Lambley is neck-and-neck with the CLP in Araluen, both of which suggest this could be a good night for independents.
6:55pm: In the Palmerston-area seat of Drysdale, held by the CLP’s Ben Hosking by an 11.5% margin, there is a large swing to Labor on primary votes off two small booths. Early sign of a Labor landslide?
6:48pm: We have some very small vote figures in Barkly which have independent Jack Green leading sitting Labor MP Gerry McCarthy – we are talking about only 124 formal votes from one of the remote booths.
6:24pm: There were some major changes to NT electoral law earlier this year which are coming into play for the first time in this election. Parties and campaigners are prohibited from being within 100m of any polling place, which has made it harder to hand out how-to-vote cards. The voting system has also switched from compulsory preferential voting to optional preferential voting, which means that voters are not required to number every box on their ballot paper.
6:11pm: 52,604 people had already voted before today – that’s pre-poll votes, postal votes and mobile votes. It accounts for 38.8% of the total enrolment. Considering likely turnout levels, that could be close to half of all votes cast before election day.
6:00pm (ACST): Polls have just closed in the Northern Territory. Stick with me as we analyse the results as they come in.