UPDATED: JULY 9 9pm: Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs has conceded defeat in the Eden Monaro by-election. In a statement, Dr Kotvojs says that “with only 1,000 to 2,000 votes still to count, the result for Eden-Monaro is now clear.
“I have spoken with Kristy McBain and congratulated her on being elected as the Member for Eden-Monaro. I wish Kristy and her family all the best as she takes on this new role”.
Describing 2020 as “a horrific year for all of us”, Dr Kotvojs thanked her supporters and called for unity across the electorate as communities struggle to recover from multiple disasters.
“To each person who took the time to consider and cast an informed vote (regardless of who it was for), you have contributed to our democratic process. May we never take it for granted, may we continue to value and uphold it, and may we always do the same for each other.
“As you can appreciate, I put much on hold for the campaign, so I’m looking forward to returning to some normality and spending time with my husband, family and friends. As I said, this community shaped who I am and I will always fight for it, but right now I have some fencing to do”, she said.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has now completed its counting of all the postal votes in its possession, putting Labor’s Kristy McBain ahead of the Liberals’ Fiona Kotvojs by 719 votes.
However, the AEC has not officially declared the election – despite McBain claiming victory the following day – as the number of postal votes that have not been returned exceeds the current margin between the top two candidates.
Around 5,000 postal ballots were counted on the night, but an additional 7,000 postal votes have been received by the AEC since election night.
More postal ballots are sent out that are returned at each election and residents have 13 days after the election to return their postal ballots, meaning an official result may not be known until next Friday (17 July) at the latest.
Australian Electoral Officer for NSW, Warwick Austin, said it was normal to be waiting for votes this late into the count.
“We will count the new postal votes that we receive in batches as they arrive but it is fair to expect that there won’t be movement on the tally room every day,” he said.
AEC counting teams have almost finished the mandatory second counts of ballots.
It is expected that postal votes will be received progressively over the next week but at a slower rate than in the first few days after polling day, the AEC said.
A full breakdown of the votes can be found on the AEC Tally Room website.