Running Post on 2020 Brisbane City Council Elections and Bundamba and Currumbin State By-elections

(FINAL UPDATE – for analysis of the final results of the Brisbane City Council elections, see the summary in this post.)

Welcome to my running blog on the results of the Brisbane City Council elections along with the Bundamba and Currumbin state by-elections. I’m supervising the ABC’s normal results site which you can find at at this link. The Lord Mayoral race, the two by-elections, and the 26 Council wards are included in the list of contests.

If you are after results for any other Queensland council, visit the Electoral Commission Queensland’s website.


Friday 17 April

11:30am – Final preferences counts for the last three wards released, Hamilton, McDowall and Walter Taylor.

Thursday 16 April

7:00pm – Final preference count for the night in for Calamvale. Only Hamilton, McDowall, Walter Taylor and the Lord Mayor to come.

4:00pm – Preference counts have come in for Coorparoo, Macgregor, Morningside, Pullenvale, The Gap and Wynnum-Manly.

Wednesday 15 April – Two updates today. Preference counts released for Runcorn and Tennyson.

Tuesday 14 April – rolling updates

8:40pm – The ECQ has declared Adrian Schrinner re-elected despite being only part way through the distribution of preferences.

8:20pm – A final comment for tonight on preferences. In the 11 wards where we have preference counts in Labor-LNP finishes, Green preferences are splitting 49% to Labor, 10% to the LNP, and 41% exhausted. In the three wards where Labor preferences have been distributed, the preferences are splitting 42% to the Greens, 13% to the LNP, and 45% exhausted.

7:00pm – preference counts have come in for Chandler, Enoggera, Forest Lake and Marchant. No surprises.

5:50pm – still no update published by the ECQ today. There’s been lots of counting today but nothing officially reported.

4:45pm – No official figures, but from scrutineers I understand that the Greens pulled ahead of Labor to reach second place in Coorparoo. After preferences the LNP’s Fiona Cunningham wins with 57% of the two-candidate vote. Labor preferences flowed 39% Greens, 12% LNP and 49% exhausted. I’ve published the scrutineer numbers as no official figures have come through.

12:15pm – An update on preference flows. There are 6 wards where Green candidates have been excluded and preferences are flowing 51% to Labor, 9% to the LNP, and 40% exhausted. In three wards where Labor candidates have been excluded, the preference flows are 42% to Greens, 13% to LNP and 45% exhausted.

12:10pm – There were preference counts released in six wards last evening that I hadn’t spotted. These were Bracken Ridge, Central, Deagon, Holland Park, Northgate and The Gabba. The closest contest here was Northgate, which in line with my estimated preferences, re-elected the LNP’s Adam Allan.

11:20am – the ECQ has only been updating its website twice a day, so that will limit the number of updates I do.

10:15am – an update on Coorparoo. The Labor lead over the Greens in the race for second place fell from 5 votes to 2 in check counting. The Green candidate has requested a re-count. Instead, the ECQ has decided to conduct an indicative preference throw of Labor’s votes. If the LNP’s Fiona Cunningham wins on this throw, and on the official count excluding the Green candidate, then the request for a re-count will be rejected. The only purpose for a re-count is to determine if the correct candidate was elected. Re-counts aren’t granted to determine the order of exclusion if that order does not impact on the winner.

Queensland is one of the states where an ‘amalgamation count’ is not conducted. An amalgamation count merges all the polling place bundles of votes before doing the distribution of preferences. Like the AEC, Queensland conducts its distribution of preferences without removing ballot papers from their polling place bundles. Having to do that again for a different pairing of candidates is complex. So if, as the ECQ is trying to determine, the order of exclusion does not impact on the winner, the Commission will continue with doing one distribution.

10:00am – I’m back doing updates today with the release of various preference counts. Three were received on Sunday – see entry below from Sunday.

Sunday 12 April – Preference distributions are in for Jamboree, Moorooka and Paddington. With the final count in, the LNP’s Peter Matic has been re-elected defeating the Green’s Donna Burns, winning 50.7% of the two-candidate preferred vote. Labor’s preferences split 46.9% to Labor, 11.5% to the LNP, and 41.6% exhausted.

Sunday 12 April – There appears to have been a thorough check count in Coorparoo today. Labor now leads the Greens in the race for second place by just 2 votes. The LNP will win Coorparoo whoever finishes second.

Saturday 11 April – there have been some tiny adjustments to first preference counts. No sign of preference counts yet.

Friday 10 April – update

9:30pm – a little wrap on how the Covid-19 outbreak impacted on voting for Brisbane City Council. The table below compares the percentage of votes cast by vote category at the 2016 and 2019 elections.

2020 Brisbane City Council Elections – Votes By Type

Vote Type % 2016 % 2020 Change
Polling Day 66.0 26.5 -39.5
Pre-Poll 13.2 28.7 +15.5
Postal 12.2 23.9 +11.7
Telephone 0.0 1.4 +1.4
Absent 7.4 18.3 +10.9
Others 1.3 1.2 -0.1

Telephone voting was made available in 2016 for blind and low vision voters. With the Covid-19 outbreak, it was extend to voters who were isolating or who felt their health would be compromised by attendance voting. The numbers telephone voting rose from 151 in 2016 to 8,428 in 2020.

Given concern over Covid-19, it is not surprising that the percentage of voters who turned up on the day plummeted from 66.0% in 2016 to only 26.5% in 2020. Pre-poll voting leapt from 13.2% to 28.7%, and postal voting rose from 12.2% to 23.9%. These figures do not include postal votes that were returned after the cut-off date for return of postal votes.

The oddity is that Absent voting rose from 7.4% to 18.3%. I strongly suspect this is due to a change in count procedures. In 2016, I understand that pre-poll votes cast outside of district were counted as pre-polls. In most wards at the 2020 election they were counted as Absent votes. So the leap in Absent voting reflects people voting pre-poll, not voters turning up at a polling place in a different ward on polling day.

The above figures are aggregates based on the Ward elections. Turnout declined from 84.0% in 2016 to 79.2% in 2020, not bad considering predictions of an ultra low turnout.

1:00pm – A couple of comments on wards. With the cut-off for postal votes having passed on Tuesday evening I am assuming all first preference counting is now complete.  We now await the final distribution of preferences, so all my comments below are based on preference estimates.

In the Lord Mayoral race, Adrian Schrinner has polled 47.7% and will win easily after preferences with a swing of about 4% against him. Labor is second with 31.1%, the Greens 15.3%, Animal Justice 3.1% with 2.8% split across five other candidates.

The Greens with 27.5% have outpolled Labor on 24.1% to finish second in Central ward, but the LNP’s Vicki Howard will still win having started the count with 48.4% on first preferences. We don’t have a preference count, but that gap can’t be closed on preferences.

The gap between second and third in Coorparoo has narrowed dramatically. Labor is second on 6,495 or 27.6% and the Greens third five votes behind on 6,490 or 27.5%. The LNP’s Fiona Cunningham leads with 44.9%. Under full preferential voting Cunningham could be passed, but not under optional preferential voting. Between 30% and 40% of third placed candidate preferences will exhaust whichever of Labor or the Greens finish third. At the end the Greens may request a re-count to confirm it wasn’t Labor who finished third, but unless there is a dispute about formality of votes or some evidence the result would change dependending on who finished third, I’d be surprised if a re-count is done.

On first preferences in Enoggera, the LNP lead with 45.1%, Labor’s Jonty Bush 34.4%, the Greens 16.1% and two other candidates have 4.3% between them. The LNP’s Andrew Wines is far enough ahead  to be certain that under optional preferential voting he wont be passed.

Holland Park will also go to preferences, but LNP Deputy Lord Mayor Krista Adams has 48.4% to Labor 30.7% and the Greens 20.9% and will easily win on preferences. The votes are similar in Marchant where the LNP’s Fiona Hammond will be re-elected, and also in Walter Taylor where James Mackay will be re-elected.

As in 2016, the LNP’s Adam Allan will be helped to victory in Northgate by exhausted preferences. On first preferences Allan has 46.7%, Labor 36.4% and the Greens 16.9%, and Allan’s lead won’t be closed on preferences.

Paddington is the only ward where mathematical doubt remains, but nothing I have heard from scrutineers suggests that the LNP’s Peter Matic can be defeated. Matic has 45.4% to the Green’s Donna Burns 38.4% and Labor 16.1%. Preference estimates I was provided with suggest Labor’s preferences were splitting Green 40%, LNP 10% and exhausted 50%, not enough to deliver victory to the Greens. It might have been different under full preferential voting.

Pullenvale will be won by new LNP candidate Greg Adermann, defeating Independent and ex-LNP councillor Kate Richards. Adermann has 41.7%, the Greens 24.4%, Richards 19.7% and Labor 14.2%. Labor and the Greens swapped preference recommendations and offered no choice between Adermann and Richards, so Richards can’t win even if she reaches second place. Richards had a one-only how-to-vote grouped with a one-only how-to-vote Lord Mayor. Richards’ preferences will not help the Greens pass Adermann.

12:15pm – I don’t intend to do any rolling updates today, but I thought I should post some updates on yesterday’s counting that I didn’t cover. First, in the Bundamba and Currumbin by-elections, the results have been finalised with the full distribution of preferences.

In Currumbin the LNP’s Laura Gerber won with 51.2% after preferences, my estimate from several days and lower than the ECQ’s preliminary preference throw of 51.5%. That represents a swing of 2.2% against the LNP since the 2017 election.

In Bundamba, the final result is Labor on 59.8% after preferences, a swing against Labor of 11.8%. The by-election final count was between Labor and One Nation, so the two-candidate swing is measured against the Labor versus LNP contest in 2017.

Wednesday 8 April – rolling updates

8:00pm – Every ward was updated at least once today. This includes the Paddington update I mentioned earlier. I’m presuming all the first preferences have been counted and we now only await the distribution of preferences. The turn out is now at 78.3%, a very noteworthy outcome considering all the concern over Covid-19. The turnout was 84% in 2016. As noted above, all updated results at this link.

12:30pm – I’ve received the final postal count for Paddington from a scrutineer. It slightly narrows the LNP lead but still leaves the LNP’s Peter Matic on track for re-election. No sign of these numbers in the ECQ feed at this stage. I can’t do manual updates of figures while the automatic feed is running.

10am – Counting today will add the postal votes that arrived by last night’s cut-off, after which the distribution of preferences will start in each ward.

Tuesday 7 April – note on updates

I won’t be adding many comments here today. Last night I turned on the programs that read the ECQ’s automatic feed. Since then, the site has been updated automatically with ward updates whenever released. For technical reasons I am continuing to update the Lord Mayoral race and the two by-elections manually.

You will find differences between the ABC’s totals and the ECQ’s. The reason for this is that the ECQ is releasing two seats of figures.

All electoral commissions conduct two counts of votes, the initial count on election night by polling place staff, and a second check count conducted by more experienced staff once ballot papers have been returned to the Returning Officer in the days that follow. Normally Electoral Commissions simply substitute the check count in each polling place for the preliminary count. The ECQ has chosen to release both figures and totals for both counts are published on the ECQ website.

I have chosen to design the ABC’s system to resolve the two counts into a single total by adding up results by polling place. The totals are from the polling place check count where completed, and the preliminary count when the check count is not available.

The reason we had not been doing this earlier was that the ECQ’s feed was late in its development. Until official counts were included in the post election feed late last week, the ABC had been unable to verify the calculation was working correctly. I have now verified the figures are calculating correctly and have turned on the feed. We have not been able to verify the feed for the Lord Mayoral election, and have had problems with polling place identifiers for one of the by-elections, so have stuck to manual data entry for the by-elections and the Lord Mayoral contest.

Today is the final day for the receipt of postal votes. I understand these outstanding votes will be counted much later today. There may also be some preliminary preparation for the preference distribution which will take place from tomorrow.

Monday 6 April – update on totals

4:00pm – Anyone watching closely might have noticed Paddington slipping back into the undecided column. What happened is that the official re-check figures corrected a counting error at Brisbane City Hall that cost the LNP about 40 votes. That pushed the LNP lead just below the automated cut-off point to call the seat, but the indicative preference count suggests the LNP will still win.

Sunday 5 April – update on totals

8:00pm – No new voting today. Minor changes included on the site today have been derived by calculating totals by merging the preliminary and official first preference counts. The table below sets out current totals and changes in vote since 2016.

Summary of Brisbane City Council Elections

Ward Contests Lord Mayor
Pct Change Pct Change
LNP 45.9 -3.9 47.8 -5.7
Labor 32.9 -0.3 31.0 -1.0
Greens 17.9 +3.4 15.3 +4.9
Others 3.3 +0.9 6.0 +1.9
Informal 2.9 +0.3 2.7 +0.3
Pct Counted 71.5 .. 72.6 ..
Two-Party Preferred (estimate)
LNP 53.7 -2.8 55.5 -4.0
Labor 46.3 +2.8 44.5 +4.0

Notes: Pct counted for 2016 is the turnout. Figures at the end of counting on 5 April. Two-party preferred is an estimate. Note that on these figures, much of the two-party preferred is produced by the rise in Greens support, not a swing to Labor. Change in vote columns compared to 2016. The turnout in 2016 was 84.0% for Lord Mayor and 83.7% for the ward contests.

Saturday 4 April – rolling updates

1:15pm – Scrutineer report of the preference count in for Paddington. LNP’s Peter Mattic leads 10,137 (50.9%) to GRN Donna Burns 9,793 (49.1%). Labor preferences splitting 48.0% to Greens, 10.6% to the LNP and 41.4% exhausting. The only outstanding votes now will be postals which will favour the LNP, so I think we can call Paddington for the LNP and the Council result is LNP 19, Labor 5, Green 1 and Others 1.
Friday 3 April – rolling updates

7:00pm – A little bit of news. Apparently there will be an indicative preference count conducted for Paddington tomorrow. That will give us a better idea of the overall picture. Not sure if it will also be done in any other wards. I’ll ask a few questions. (Update – there are some other wards where it will take place.)

6:30pm – a rush of updates for all wards, including Moorooka at long last. These updates include nearly all the manual updates I entered earlier. The count for both the Council and Lord Mayor are now above 70%.

5:25pmPaddington update based on scrutineer returns. A third batch of postal votes, polling day telephone votes, polling day declarations plus absent votes. They slightly favour the Greens but the LNP is still estimated to be ahead. We won’t know the result until the distribution of preferences next week.

5:20pm – I had hoped to start automatic updates today. This was going to be by amalgamating the preliminary and official counts polling place by polling place to produce accurate totals from the merge. We managed to get 23 of the 26 wards with the correct total that we manually counted, but couldn’t account for the discrepancy in the other three wards. A debugging job for Monday.

2:50pm – Small updates for various wards through this morning. Nothing dramatic, and nothing new on the two outstanding seats, Enoggera and Paddington. Those two wards might have to wait for the distribution of preferences next week.

Thursday 2 April – rolling updates

7:15pm – added Northgate scrutineer figures from a third postal vote count and polling day declaration votes. Little change to the totals, the LNP heading for victory with 46.9% of the first preference vote, an estimated 51.6% after preferences. The vote is advanced enough for the ABC computer to mark Northgate as an LNP retain.

6:30pm – just added scrutineer update figures for small counts today in Central and Coorparoo.

5:50pm – the count in Macgregor has gone backwards today. It was at 87% last night, 4% higher than the turnout in 2016. I asked the ECQ to check for double counting and the error was fixed. It’s the sort of error that always gets found in the check count, but that might have taken a few days. It’s the sort of error that rarely happens in close seats as scrutineers quickly spot the error.

3:20pm – Official counts are now being released, the check counts of election night numbers. While published on the ECQ website, these are not currently being included in the feed. We have a program to merge the two counts but have not seen any examples of what the export file looks like with both sets of results. Once we have checked our program works, we will re-start automatic updating of the ABC site. I’ll continue with manual updates for the moment.

3:00pm – an erratic NBN has prevented me doing any updates so far today. About to start.

Wednesday 1 April – rolling updates

7:30pm – an update for Paddington from a different party’s scrutineers with numbers from the Brisbane City Hall pre-poll. I’ve manually updated the totals from this Green leaning polling place, which cuts the estimated LNP lead by about 0.4%. Paddington looks set to be the closest result of the election.

7:00pm –  thanks to scrutineers I’m managing to keep the count ahead of the ECQ in many wards. My latest updates are for Mornington (ALP retain) and Coorparoo (LNP retain).

5:50pm – Finally an update for Enoggera, pre-polls and postals, again via scrutineers. LNP position is improved and probably on track to win, but some doubt remains as we have no preference counts.

5:05pm – Telephone votes added for Paddington via scrutineers, slightly improving the LNP position. The ward remains close,

4:45pm – A note on preferences at the by-elections. In Currumbin, Green preferences split 72.8% to Labor, 27.2% to the LNP. One Nation preferences split 35.6% to Labor and 64.4% to the LNP. Both these flows followed the published how-to-vote.

In Bundamba, the reversed Green preferences error has been fixed. Green preferences split 66.7% to Labor and 33.3% to One Nation, in line with the party’s how-to-vote. The LNP how-to-vote had listed One Nation ahead of Labor, but LNP preferences split evenly, 50.3% to One Nation and 49.7% to Labor.

After preferences the LNP win Currumbin with 51.5%, a swing to Labor of 1.8%, and Labor wins Bundamba with 59.6%, a swing of 12.0% against Labor, though this swing is compared to a Labor-LNP contest at the 2017 election.

3:30pm –  a long awaited update for Paddington. It is scrutineer first preferences for out of district pre-polls and a second batch of postals, 7,505 votes. These were overall about 0.7% weaker for the LNP compared to the previous count. Using the estimate of ALP preferences provided by scrutineers, 50% to Greens, 10% LNP, 40% exhsusted, that leaves the LNP’s Peter Matic in the lead with 50.9% after preferences.

2:20pm – Yesterday’s preference error in Bundamba has been fixed and Labor now has 59.6%. A number of updates for wards have just been published. Nothing yet for the two wards remaining in doubt, Enoggera and Paddington.

12:45pm – There was a big update for Northgate from the ECQ overnight, but it didn’t include the scrutineered postal votes I had added manually yesterday. I’ve put them back in which puts the LNP’s Adam Allen out to 51.6%.

8:30m – I’ve now added the newly published preference count for Currumbin showing the LNP on 51.5%.

Tuesday 31 March – rolling updates

9:10pm – A preference count has arrived in Bundamba showing Labor winning with 54.9% after preferences, well down on what I had estimated. On checking the preference flow data in the results feed, Green preferences are flowing two-to-one towards One Nation over Labor. I cannot believe that is right so presume the preference data has been transposed on data entry. The data also shows Liberal preferences splitting 50:50, which is also a surprise. If the Green data has been transposed, I’m guessing Labor will win with about 59.5% after preferences.

7:50pm – Finally some updates on the ECQ website. Updates for the Bundamba by-election, Chandler, Deagon, Forest Hill, Northgate, The Gabba and Runcorn.

At the end of Tuesday night, three seats remain in doubt.

Northgate is the closest contest, on the scrutineer preference figures I received, LNP Councillor Adam Allan is on 50.3% versus Labor’s Reg Neil.

In Paddington sitting LNP Councillor Peter Matic leads with 51.1%, again on scrutineer preference estimates supplied to me.

In Enoggera, there was no new counting today, partly because much of the pre-poll vote was taken outside of the district. The count is low at only 34.5%, and I estimate that the LNP’s sitting Councillor Andrew Wines is on 50.4%. Pre-polls and postals may improve his position.

In the two state by-elections, scrutineer figures conformed that Currumbin had been retained by the LNP, and extra counting today today in Bundamba did not change Labor’s clear victory.

6:50pm – more scrutineer updates. Scrutineer preference flows in Northgate with Green preferences splitting 54% to Labor, 11% to LNP and 35% exhausted. About 10% stronger for Labor than I originally programmed.

Other scrutineer figures added were postals from Northgate and The Gap, Brisbane City Hall for Coorparoo along with a few mobile votes.

5:30pm – another update from scrutineers, absent and extra postals for Central ward.

5:00pm – No change to ECQ figures, but have obtained scrutineer updates for various postal and pre-poll votes in The Gap, Jamboree, Coorparoo, McDowall and Marchant.

3:15pmCurrumbin by-election update. More scrutineer preference figures. Including the preference flows for the Tugun pre-poll and two batches of postal votes, the Green flow of preferences to Labor rises from 71% to 73%, but the One Nation flow to the LNP increases from 62% to 64%. Negligible impact on the result with the LNP 2-party count slipping from 51.3% to 51.2%.

I presume the outstanding votes will be additional postals, polling day declarations, and telephone votes. The LNP’s Laura Gerber is more than 500 votes ahead and it is hard to this being overturned. So I can confidently say that the LNP will hold Currumbin.

2:30pm – first, I had to reverse the extra votes for Paddington. It was a double entry as those pre-polls had already been included in the official count. There have been no updates today from the ECQ but I have been sent scrutineer postal vote counts for Central, Holland Park and Doboy which I have added to the ECQ’s released totals. All postal vote updates favour the LNP.

11:45am – A scrutineer provided me with results from the Herston pre-poll in Paddington. These aren’t in the count published on the ECQ site so I have added them to the totals.

11:30am – Back for another day’s update. Before anything, a little apology to the Labor candidate for Doboy. The ABC computer is calculating an 11% swing to the LNP, and this is clearly wrong as the swing is 6.1%. I’ve checked the set-up data and it is all correct. The first preference LNP swing is 11%. There are only two candidates in Doboy, and I can’t remember the last time the ABC computer had a contest with only two candidates. I think some error condition has been triggered by there being no preference formulas for the seat and the primary swing has been grabbed as some sort of default.

A bug for fixing after the election as I am mainly trying to get my programmer to work on the code reading the ECQ’s feed. In the next day the ECQ will start issuing what it calls it’s ‘official’ count. At that point manual data entry becomes too difficult and we need the feed to merge the preliminary and official counts to get a sensible set of totals.

Monday 30 March – rolling updates

10:10pm – One last update for the night about Paddington. The Greens are currently in second place and need strong flows of Labor preferences to win. The flow formulas I set up had Labor’s preferences 60% to Greens, 10% to LNP and exhausted 30%. I hear from scrutineers that the Labor flow is under 50% and the exhausted rate higher. I’ve changed my formula to 50/10/40 which increases the LNP estimate after preferences from 50.4% to 51.1%.

9:00pm – Final update for the night. Today the Council result progressed from 40.5% to 46.4%. In today’s counting the LNP vote rose from 45.6% to 46.0%, Labor’s vote slipped from 33.8% to 33.5%, and the Greens slipped from 17.9% to 17.1%. The estimated LNP two-party preferred rose from 53.0% to 53.5%.

Compared to the 2016 Council election, the change in LNP vote is -3.9%, Labor +0.3%, Greens +2.6% and others +1.0%. The estimated LNP two-party swing is -3.0.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is estimated to win win 55.3% after preferences, a swing of -4.2% since 2016. The LNP first preferences votes changed -6.0% Labor -0.9%, Greens +4.9%, Others +2.0%.

LNP will win 16 wards and leads in three others, all of which it could hold. The LNP looks set to hold all its seats despite the swing. It is a similar result to 2016 when the LNP gained a ward despite there being an overall swing to Labor.

As in 2016, the 2020 Brisbane City Council election has recorded a two-party preferred swing to Labor despite there being no change in the party’s first preference vote share. The 2020 result shows the same pattern as 2016, the LNP vote down, the Green vote up, but Labor’s vote static.

7:20pm – the first indicative preference counts released by the ECQ have exactly the same preference flow data provided to me by scrutineers yesterday, Greens 71% to Labor, One Nation 62% to LNP.

5:45pm – More scrutineer numbers, this time on postal votes for Central and Calamvale. Both strongly favour the LNP, enough to call both wards for the LNP and pushing the LNP up to 16 seats, Labor 5, Green 1 and Independent 1.

4:10pm – Today’s updates leave the LNP with 14 seats won and leading in the remaining five seats in doubt. The leads are based on my preferences estimates so the seats are rightfully left in doubt. But if the LNP win all five, that means no change to the composition of the Council, 19 LNP, 5 Labor 1 Green and one Independent.

4:05pm – A postal vote update for Enoggera improves the LNP’s position and on my estimates puts them just ahead on preferences.

12:40pm – The ECQ has started to publish Currumbin 2CP counts on its website, but they are not a complete count. 2CP totals by polling place do not appear in the ECQ data file, which means it is impossible to work out what the preference flows are.

As I outlined yesterday, I have been given scrutineer preference count data for all polling day booths in Currumbin. These shows Green preferences splitting 71% Labor 29% LNP, and One Nation preferences splitting 38% Labor and 62% LNP. I’ll continue to use these values to calculate 2CP in Currumbin.

12:20pm – ECQ updates for Calamvale have been few and far between. I’ve received an update from an LNP scrutineer of Calamvale postal vote results so have added it to the totals provided by the ECQ pending them being published. That puts the LNP’s Angela Owen in front, which I understand the pre-poll count confirms.

11:30am – I’ve given away Bracken Ridge to the LNP. The computer system’s formula doesn’t give it away automatically as only 43.1% is counted. But given it is a safe LNP ward and the postal votes will boost the LNP vote, I’m happy to call Bracken Ridge for the. That’s 14 LNP wards, 5 Labor, 1 Green 1 Independent with 5 wards remaining in doubt. Those are Calamvale, Central, Enoggera, Northgate and Paddington, Some of these wards, like Central, are in doubt mainly due to having a very low count so far.

10:50am – additional results have seen Holland Park retained by the LNP. Current tally LNP 13, Labor 5, Greens 1, Independent 1. With the Lord Mayor, that gives the LNP 14 of the 27 votes on council.

Sunday 29 March – the morning after

7:00pm – probably my final update for the night. End of evening council totals.

Summary of Ward Elections

Saturday Night Sunday Night
2016 Pct Change Pct Change
LNP 49.9 42.9 -7.0 45.6 -4.3
Labor 33.2 32.8 -0.4 33.8 +0.6
Greens 14.5 20.4 +5.9 17.9 +3.4
Others 2.4 3.9 +1.5 2.6 +0.2
Pct Counted 83.7 24.8 .. 40.5 ..
Two-Party Preferred (estimate)
LNP 56.5 51.6 -4.9 53.0 -3.5
Labor 43.5 48.4 +4.9 47.0 +3.5

Notes: Pct counted for 2016 is the turnout. Figures at the end of counting on 28 March. Two-party preferred is an estimate. Note that on these figures, much of the two-party preferred is produced by the rise in Greens support, not a swing to Labor. Change in vote columns compared to 2016.

5:50pm – I’ve been provided with some preference flow data for Currumbin from election night. Green preferences split 71% Labor 29% LNP, weaker than I thought would occur. Perhaps that’s the influence of not being allowed to hand out how-to-votes. One Nation preferences split 38% Labor and 62% LNP. Factoring those flows into the updated first preferences, that increases the LNP’s lead with postal votes yet to be counted. LNP chances of holding Currumbin look stronger.

4:50pm – updates of unreported polling places and today’s pre-poll vote counting in some wards have lifted the count from 24.8% to 35.0% since this morning. In that time the LNP first preference vote has lifted from 42.9% to 45.0%, Labor lifted from 32.8% to 33.3%, and the Greens have slipped from 20.4% to 18.8%.

4:40pm – big batch of updates just went in including for Currumbin. On my estimates the LNP are now ahead with postal votes to count. Too early to call but better for the LNP than last night. LNP pulled ahead of Greens in Paddington.

3:45pm – Someone very helpfully sent me an updated tallysheet for Coorparoo that is ahead of the ECQ. Counting of pre-poll votes puts Labor back into second place ahead of the Greens. Suggestion is this will continue with pre-poll counting but the LNP’s Fiona Cunningham remains on track to win.

2:55pm – I received some scrutineering figures for Lord Mayor from two wards. Independent, minor party and Green preferences are splitting pretty much the same as the estimated flows I built into my software. It was clear on final figures last night that Adrian Schrinner was heading for re-election, and the preferences I received confirm that Labor can’t close Schrinner’s lead on first preferences.

2:35pm – Two significant updates. Jump in figures for Doboy, the LNP’s most marginal ward, where appointed councillor Lisa Atwood is now on track to win. And an update in Runcorn now points to the LNP’s Kim Marx being re-elected.

2:15pm – the bug with the overall totals has been fixed and the ABC website is now showing totals for the 26 Council wards only.

11:00am – If anyone has good preference figures in any of these contests, send me an e-mail at

10:50am –  I must stress, all the preference figures on the ABC website are currently estimates. If at some stage preference counts are released, or I get hold of some scrutineer preference estimates, I will modify how the site is calculating preferences. But my initial estimates are listed below.

In Bundamba and Currumbin, where full preferential voting was used,  I have set up Green preferences to flow 80% to Labor, 20% to LNP in Currumbin and 20% to One Nation in Bundamba. I have set One Nation preferences to flow 65% to the LNP and 35% to Labor in Currumbin, and in Bundamba for Liberal preferences to flow 65% to the LNP and 35% to Labor.

In Brisbane where optional preferential voting is in use, my preference estimates are Greens 45% to Labor, 10% to the LNP and 45% exhausted. I’ve switched that to 50/10/40 in a couple of wards where the Greens traditionally poll strongly. When Labor preferences are distributed I am using 55% to Green, 10% LNP and 35% exhausted. Minor parties are distributed 20 to Labor, 20 to LNP and 60% exhausted. Independent preferences will be important in Pullenvale, but I think the LNP is far enough ahead on first preferences to obsess too much about preferences.

10:30am – the table below summarises the overal picture in the election for the 26 Council wards. It should be used instead of the table on the ABC results site is the wrong set of totals, rolling the by-elections and Lord Mayoral contest into a single set of totals. The Lord Mayoral and by-election change in votes can be seen on the individual results pages.

Table 1 – Summary of Ward Elections

Saturday Night
2016 Pct Change
LNP 49.9 42.9 -7.0
Labor 33.2 32.8 -0.4
Greens 14.5 20.4 +5.9
Others 2.4 3.9 +1.5
Pct Counted 83.7 24.8 ..
Two-Party Preferred (estimate)
LNP 56.5 51.6 -4.9
Labor 43.5 48.4 +4.9

Notes: Pct counted for 2016 is the turnout. Figures at the end of counting on 28 March. Two-party preferred is an estimate. Note that on these figures, much of the two-party preferred is produced by the rise in Greens support, not a swing to Labor.

10:00am – I’ve manually updated the results for the 26 wards, the Lord Mayoral race and the Currumbin by-election. Note that there are NO PREFERENCE COUNTS. The system is currently using my pre-election preference estimates and lots of the seats are in doubt as a result.

Saturday 28 March – Election Night

10:45pm – I will try and ensure the ABC website is updated on Sudnay, if the ECQ manage to get the media feed working. I might have more interesting things to do though. That’s all for Saturday night.

10:30pm – I’ll sign off after a very frustrating night. It has also been very frustrating for candidates and parties unable to know the result from scrutineers observing the count. Most will re-double their efforts with scrutineering tomorrow.After all the difficulties of trying to run an election in a time of plague, the last thing the ECQ needed was a technological failure that leaves everyone in the lurch about the results. The ECQ will need a much better performance come the state election due in October.

10:25pm – According to the ECQ website, with 14.3% counted, LNP Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is on 43.4%, Labor’s Pat Condren 30.9% and the Green’s Kath Angus 18.1%. I don’t know the source of those votes, but those figures point strongly towards Schrinner being re-elected. The LNP are confident Labor can’t close the gap on preferences.The LNP is also confident it can hold all its wards, but that confidence depends on guessing how the hugely increased pool of pre-poll votes will split when counted. Everyone is guessing because scrutineers could not observe the count tonight and were unable to get many booth figures. There were also many late changes to polling places due to coronavirus issues, making any attempt to compares result booth by booth rather difficult.The LNP also suggest the Greens have done well at the expense of Labor in several inner-city wards. Whether this observation is true or just mischief-making will be revealed by further counting tomorrow.

10:20pm – In my view Labor is far enough ahead after 12 polling place counts to feel confident they should hold Bundamba. It appears the Labor first preference vote is down from 53% to 42%, but with the Greens on 13%, Labor should stay ahead of One Nation on 28%, whose vote will be boosted by preferences from the LNP on 16%. Green preferences to Labor will be stronger than LNP preferences to One Nation, so Labor’s Lance McCallum should maintain his lead and be the new member for Bundamba.

10:17pm – Party scrutineers in Currumbin were given a hand written sheet of polling place numbers that had the LNP a handful of votes ahead, but with 12,000 Tugun pre-polls plus a huge number of LNP-leaning postals to count. That indicates the LNP is favoured to win, but the count is not nearly as progressed as you would want.

10:15pm – The ECQ is unable to provide the feed needed to have electronic access to the results, so the ABC cannot update its website. Maybe tomorrow.

9:10pm – A Labor source tells me the Returning Officer in Currumbin might resort to giving them a piece of paper with results on it as an update.

8:18pm – There are dribs and drabs popping up on the ECQ website, but none of these updates are being exported in the media feed, which makes it very difficult to provide any sensible analysis.

8:00pm – the last update was 23 minutes ago and the numbers went backwards on that update. I’m not sure what is going on with the count.

7:50pm – Not getting many updates at this stage. I would say Labor is on track to hold Bundamba where the count is ricking along nicely. Labor is projecting to poll 42% on first preferences, down 11% compared to 2017. While a low first preference count, Green preferences and then leakage of LNP preferences should be Labor home. I would be surprised if One nation did well on pre-polls and postals.

7:31pm – Incredibly low counts have arrived. 1.2% for Lord Mayor and nothing since the first update. Labor is on track to hold Bundamba, Labor’s vote up in Currumbin at this stage, but at the expense of the Greens.

7:19pm – Ugh! Technical problems. If you know XML at all, if a zero as published as an empty field, you have to program to recognise the empty field means zero. What happens when you never manage to see any test data. Someone’s working on getting around the problem.

7:08pm – 5 votes have appeared for Brisbane Lord Mayor but that is all. No media export file has been published yet.

6:55pm – Still no results so I haven’t got much to say.

6:40pm – The ECQ just tweeted that the first figures should be reporting at about 7pm.

6:22pm – Due to a technical problem, the ABC computer is unable to read the preference count for the two by-elections from the ECQ feed. I am starting with estimates of Green 80% to Labor, 20% to LNP or One Nation, and One Nation 65% to the LNP and 35% to Labor. I also have LNP preference to One Nation in Bundamba at a possible 65%. I will adjust these estimates manually as preference counts are published.

6:05pm As there will be no BCC preference counts tonight, my estimated preferences will be for the Grees to flow 45% to Labor, 10% to the LNP and 45% exhausted. I’ve switched that to 50/10/40 in a couple of wards where the Greens traditionally poll strongly. Labor preferences I have as 55% to Green, 10% LNP and 35% exhausted

.5:58pm – The LNP two-party preferred percentage on polling day in 2016 was 55.4%. It was a stronger 56.9% with pre-poll votes, even stronger on 62.4% with postal votes, but a lower 54.0% with absents.That Labor’s vote is strongest with on the day votes is a long standing trend. That is largely due to who votes when and how. With the massive increase in pre-poll and postal voting in 2020, there is no guarantee we will see the same pattern.

5:55pm – In the ward contests in 2016, Green preferences split around 42% to Labor, 11% to the LNP and 47% exhausted. In 2016 the Greens issued a mix of directed and open tickets, but in 2020 have recommended preferences to Labor everywhere except in Tennyson Ward where Nicole Johnston is favoured.Labor’s preferences flowed slightly stronger to the Greens in the four wards where distributed, 49% to the Greens, 9% to the LNP and 42% exhausted.You would have expected these flows to be stronger in 2020, but the ban on distributing how-to-votes may cut the flows.Both Labor and the Greens tried to send the messages to number every square. The LNP recommended ‘Just Vote 1’ everywhere and will hope this message weakens the flow of preferences between Labor and the Greens.

5:35pm – At the 2016 Lord Mayoral election, the LNP polled 53.5%, Labor 32.0%, Greens 10.4% and four other candidates 4.1%. Of all minor party votes, 11.9% flowed to the LNP, 38.9% to Labor and 49.2% exhausted. During the distribution of preferences, on the final exclusion of the Green candidate, preferences flowed 9.8% to the LNP, 47.4% to Labor and 42.9% exhausted.

5:30pm – A late update. There will be preference counts for the Currumbin and Bundamba by-elections, but there will be no preference counts in Brisbane City Council. So that’s no 2CP counts for the Lord Mayoral or Ward councillor contests.

5:10pm – In 2016 the turnout for Brisbane City Council was 84%. It is expected to be lower in 2020.In Brisbane, the proportion of votes cast at polling places in 2016 was 66.0%, pre-poll votes represented 13.2% of votes, postal votes 12.2% and absent votes (outside of ward) 7.4%. In 2020 the proportion cast in polling places will halve, pre-poll voting triple and postal voting double.I am awaiting clarification on what will be counted tonight. All polling place votes will be counted. Most pre-polls will be counted for the by-elections and for the Lord Mayor race, but the mixing of ballot papers means pre-polls will not be counted for the Brisbane ward races.

4:55pm – There are  around 3 million voters eligible to vote at the Local government elections. At the close of pre-poll voting on Friday, 1.2 million pre-poll votes had been cast, 570,000 postal vote packages had been sent out, and another 40,000 voters had made use of telephone voting. That means around 1.8 million or 60% of voters had already voted. With a turnout which will struggle to pass 80% overall, that means three-quarters of votes were cast before today, and only a quarter of voters will brave polling places today. There may overall be as few as 600,000 voters at polling places today. Even with the coronavirus procedures that could slow the count, it should be easy for all polling places to report their results by the polling cut-off at 10pm.

4:30pm – Counting of results today will be conducted under very different rules. Scrutineers are allowed into the polling place to see the ballot boxes opened and votes tipped out, but they are not allowed to observe the count. They must leave the polling place, and may only return after the count is completed to observe the sealing of the packaging that contains the completed ballot papers, unused ballot papers and administrative paperwork surrounding the conduct of the polling place. These votes will be re-counted starting from Sunday when scrutineers will have an opportunity to observe the count.

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