The counting of millions of postal votes for Australia Elections 2016 has begun on Tuesday with the future of nine seats at stake.
The Liberals are still hoping to win the elections with full majority. The counting of votes was put on a halt on Sunday morning at around 2:00 am, a day after the July 2 federal elections. The Australian Electoral Commission announced that it will resume the counting on Tuesday. The decision came following recommendations of a review for the bungled WA Senate vote in 2013. During the voting, almost 1,370 ballots went missing, prompting immediate re-elections and resignation of the then AEC head.
The AEC considered counting “ordinary votes” cast from polling booths. The AEC stated that it has already counted over 11 million House of Representatives votes for Australia elections 2016. Absentee and postal votes are counted within the week after the election day. Almost 2.5 million people cast their votes early for the 2016 federal elections. With the halt put on counting on Sunday, the ballots are now shifted to safe locations for counting of votes.
The AEC released a statement on Tuesday providing the details of what has been planned. “The counting of almost 1.1m postal votes returned to the AEC so far begins on Tuesday. The large number of votes cast by interstate voters also gets underway,” the statement read. “This follows two days of packaging, distribution, sorting and verification of these votes.
“While this counting task begins on Tuesday it will take some time due to the large volume of postal, interstate and other declaration votes that continue to be received back in local electorates. The count of Senate pre-poll ordinary votes not already counted on election night continues.”
The AEC confirmed that it will wait for postal votes and other declaration votes to be shifted to secure electoral locations for counting. The commission mentioned the deadline for the receipt of the ballots as July 15. The election regulator also stated that there are six electorates, including the seats of Cowper, Higgins, Barker, O’Connor and Durack, where the votes are being shown as “not yet determined.”
According to SBS Australia, Labor has managed to grab 61 votes, which are expected to increase to 71 soon while the coalition lags behind with 64 seats, which might turn to 67.