Avid media consumers will have noticed the following two articles which were based, in part, on my analysis:
1. The Age – Double Dissolution forecasts
2. Crikey – prospects and rationale for a WA Senate recount
In response to the comments on this blog in my electronic absence:
The Waggrakine anomaly
This Truth Seeker does not usually like to take credit for things, but it is pleasing to note the potentially miscounted Waggrakine result has been picked up by a local news website and a similarly focused Facebook page.
To recap, my site pointed out late last week that the polling place of Waggrakine, in the WA electorate of Durack, recorded in the Senate an unreasonably low rate of BTL votes (just 1 out of 1929) and an unreasonably high rate of informal votes. Given a recount request is being considered, and a potential discrepancy of 50 BTL votes have been incorrectly recorded as informal, this is a significant discrepancy.
It is interesting to note that at least three people insist they voted below the line at Waggrakine, and a staff member at the polling booth also seems to imply that there were more than one ballot during the counting process. To clarify, I have no objections to the staff on election day or their role – it is not the responsibility of election day polling place staff to data-enter votes or test for formality. My understanding is that all they need to do is assign votes to tickets.
I have not raised this issue because I want the result changed, or think it should be changed, or think it may change if this booth was included. Rather, there are any myriad of issues, undetectable by standard data mining techniques, that may compromise the counting of the ballots.
It would be interesting to know if anyone from Waggrakine knew exactly who they voted for and in which order. This may be via a specialised online Below The Line vote counting site, including www.belowtheline.org.au or senate.io. If you did, I would love it if you could send me an email which is to a gmail.com account, theoriginaltruthseeker at … you get the picture (Apols, trying to avoid printing my email address to avoid spam).
For the record, the only BTL vote currently registered in Waggrakine was for the ALP’s Louise Pratt.
My assessment of likelihood of recount
I agree with the assessment of an anonymous commentator:
“For the AEC I think there is a 60-70% chance of a recount purely based on the logic of a close result AND the political/public pressure.”
I agree with the commentator who also implies that the likelihood of a full recount being required will increase if higher appeals and/or legal action is required. Kevin Bonham raises the prospect of the recount process being overrun by facetiousness (my paraphrasing) similar to the high rate of individual vote disputes seen in the seat of Fairfax. Perhaps, scrutineers could be allowed only two unsuccessful challenges per batch of votes, like the way Hawkeye challenges work in Tennis? (Please – no-one take this suggestion seriously!!)
I find it unlikely a court will refuse to accept a full recount, given the extensive time period we have between now and when the new Senators are expected to show up and be seated on the red couches at Parliament house. I think a partial recount should be ruled out, due to the closeness, that any vote that is for any other candidate may influence this outcome.
I agree with the suggestion by regular psephological commentator IntuitiveReason that a recount with closer scrutiny cannot but help improve the reliability of the count process – all minds will be 100% focussed on the outcome and allow the result to be more representative of the collective will and wisdom of our voters. Thus, a second count will necessarily be more reliable than the first count. If there’s still doubt, why not count it a third time? We’ve got nine months to get this right.
Analysis of the stated results shows the Shooters and Fishers outpolled the Christians by a 3:1 ratio – that is 54 to 18 votes. Hence, it is likely that BTLs for these parties would be slightly more favourable to the ALP and PUP – by approximately 2 or 3 votes. But the point is that the count can almost be proven to be incorrect, so let’s redo it to get the right outcome.
Upon such a recount being conducted, it is almost certain that enough votes will change one way or the other that will revert this Shooters v Fishers battle to a 50-50 prospect. So, toss a coin to predict the winners.
Miscellaneous other comments
The x-axis on my graph was not a log scale. I was experimenting with several display options, changed the axis title, then changed the axis-type, then published. Oops.
Other exclusions, apart from the ones I had previously identified over the last few weeks are irrelevant and would not have changed the outcome. This is because ~97% of votes were ATL and hence future preference flows were known.
The Kambalda West polling booth has been commented on by Kevin Bonham and others, as there were precisely 50 votes less recorded in the Senate than the House. I note that the %Labor vote in the Senate and the House is very similar across the O’Connor electorate, including in neighbouring Kambalda. However the gap between the Kambalda West Labor vote in the Senate and the house is... precisely 50. Coincidence?
I am back in an area with great internet now but I do have a particularly busy week at work. I will mainly update things via Twitter (@AU_Truth_Seeker) and will post here every day or two. I have one exciting numerical idea up my sleeve and intend on getting the time to do this analysis and post here towards the end of the week. I will also keep readers updated with my take on the near unavoidable court action relating to the WA recount.
Beyond that, I will update this blog approximately weekly, with analytical comments on the election we’ve had and predictions of future polls.