Division 1’s incumbent councillor Jason Bartels is leading in the count.
Division 1’s incumbent councillor Jason Bartels is leading in the count.

Online tally goes awry in Division 1

FOR ALMOST two days it looked like Division 1 councillor Jason Bartels was at risk of losing his seat in the Bundaberg Regional Council chamber, but the Electoral Commission of Queensland's online data was wrong.

Cr Bartels said the ECQ's data showing he was six per cent behind candidate Scott Allison was outdated.

"The figures on the ECQ website have never been correct and are still incorrect even after the early votes were added today (Monday)," he wrote on a Facebook post attached to a picture of Sesame Street character Count Von Count.

 

 

Neither Cr Bartels nor Mr Allison called the election, but they both recognised the error, even though an ECQ spokeswoman said there had not been a mistake in Division 1.

Yesterday afternoon the ECQ updated its results, with a 9 per cent lead in favour of Cr Bartels

He so far had 50.26 per cent of the vote. Mr Allison had 41.63 per cent and retiree Peter Wyatt had 8.11 per cent.

Mr Allison said he had about 40 messages or phone calls congratulating him on his election win.

"And I've had to say, 'well hang on a minute, I'm actually not', so it's confusing to everyone," he said.

Mr Allison said the error published on the ECQ website would not have happened if scrutineers were allowed to watch the count on Saturday night, but he supported the measure.

"The decision not to have scrutineers for public safety is the right decision," he said.

"But it's disappointing when you spend 12-14 hours thinking you are leading by 6 per cent to find you're actually behind.

"In 2020 in a council election, mistakes like that shouldn't really happen."

Mr Allison was not ready to acknowledge defeat at this stage, as postal votes, phone phones, and optional preferences from Mr Wyatt's supporters might tighten the margin.

He understood there to be 6500 postal votes in the local government area, which if divided equally by division could have an impact.

An ECQ spokeswoman said there were 11,600 votes cast on election day in the Bundaberg region.

About 27,000 votes had been pre-poll, and more than 680 people registered for telephone voting in the region.

Meanwhile, councillors Wayne Honor, Greg Barnes and John Learmonth look to be returning, according to their leads.

There is a tight race in Division 6 between Tanya McLoughlin and Kelly Woods. May Mitchell is likely to represent Division 9, and Division 4 candidate Tracey McPhee declared victory.

On Sunday Mrs Mitchell said; "there's more chance of getting toilet paper at the shops than there is of getting any further significant update today.

"Relaxing and staying home now. I'm running out of chores and gardening."



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