Close Wagga by-election result delayed

The official result from the weekend’s Wagga Wagga by-election has been delayed partly due to how close the outcome is.

The Liberal and Labor parties have conceded defeat to independent candidate Joe McGirr following Saturday’s poll but the NSW Electoral Commission is yet to officially announce the winner.

That was expected to happen on Thursday morning but has now been pushed back until Friday afternoon at the earliest.

The commission said an increase in the number of pre-poll votes and ballot papers marked with multiple preferences had made the count more time-consuming.

Further, “because of the close result, there is considerable interest in the count process by the scrutineers appointed by the candidates”.

“Because of these factors, it is taking longer for the NSW Electoral Commission to process these pre-poll votes,” a spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

Dr McGirr won 25 per cent of the formal primary vote as did Liberal candidate Julie Ham. Labor’s Dan Hayes received 24 per cent of first preference ballots.

The official result will be based on crucial preference flows with the major parties declaring ahead of time they can’t win.

Wagga had been held by the Liberal Party for 60 years before Saturday’s election.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has accepted responsibility for the loss but argues the messy removal of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, combined with a local corruption scandal that sparked the early poll, produced a “perfect storm”.

© AAP 2018

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