So after an intensely frustrating day for local politics anoraks, as every other city got to find out who its mayor was going to be, the preliminary Wellington results have been announced, and we have…
With all the other candidates knocked out and their preferences redistributed (this might be a good time to brush up on how STV works if you’ve forgotten) Kerry Prendergast is ahead of Celia Wade-Brown, 24,468 votes to 24,428.
Yes, that’s a 40-vote gap. And what’s more—all the votes haven’t actually been counted yet. Say what?
What are the uncounted votes?
There appear to be about 900 special votes still to be counted. We don’t have an exact number. Because the third-placed candidate, Jack Yan, is far behind the top two, all that matters is whether the special voters ranked Kerry or Celia higher.
Additionally, votes that are postmarked today will be counted when they arrive. Nobody knows how many of these there are.
So who’s going to win?
Celia needs to get slightly more than half of the uncounted votes (about 55%, or 491, if there are 900 of them) to win. Otherwise, Kerry wins. Conventional wisdom says special votes usually favour ‘the left’. We’re sending a minion to research how the special votes broke in the last couple of elections and will post about that when we know.
When will we find out who won?
The only media coverage we’ve seen of this is a tweet from @NZStuff saying the election “may not be decided until Wednesday”.
Update: The Dom Post is now reporting that special vote counting will begin on Monday.
But the City Council Twitter feed said Kerry had been re-elected!
Yes, and that’s very naughty of them. (Addendum: see this comment thread.)
How many people voted?
According to the Council website, 44,465 people had voted as of Thursday, about 33% turnout. That’s not counting however many more votes turned up on Friday and Saturday, but still—shame on the other two-thirds of you.
Update: It appears the last two days of voting brought turnout up to about 40%.
According to the preliminary results…
- Eastern Ward: Leonie Gill and Ray Ahipene-Mercer have been re-elected. Simon “Swampy” Marsh has knocked off Rob Goulden.
- Lambton Ward: Ian McKinnon and Iona Pannett have been re-elected. Stephanie Cook appears to have been re-elected as well, but she didn’t make it past Marcus Ganley until everyone else was eliminated, and if there are enough specials there’s an outside chance Ganley could sneak past her. Michael Fowler, if you’re wondering, came fifth behind Ganley.
- Northern Ward: Hayley Wain is out, pushed into fifth place behind Gareth no-not-that-one Morgan and newcomer Justin Lester, who topped the poll. Helene Ritchie and Ngaire Best have been re-elected.
- Onslow-Western Ward: Andy Foster, Jo Coughlan, and John Morrison have all been re-elected.
- Southern Ward: Bryan Pepperell has been re-elected. Paul Eagle has taken Celia Wade-Brown’s vacated seat.