IT’S D-Day for Indi with a clear indication of who will win expected to come tonight.
Cathy McGowan’s lead over Sophie Mirabella, which surpassed 1700 a week ago, was whittled down to 515 votes by 4pm yesterday.
With 85,891 votes already processed, only about 3000 votes remained to be counted and preferences distributed.
They were a mix of pre-polls and postals, which so far have favoured Mrs Mirabella, and absent votes, which had been favouring Ms McGowan.
Neither candidate was claiming victory or conceding defeat last night but the trends suggested the final margin could be much less than 500.
Of the primary votes counted, Mrs Mirabella scored 38,426 (44.74 per cent), Ms McGowan 27,031 (31.47 per cent) and Labor’s Robyn Walsh 9913 (11.54 per cent), most of the latter’s benefiting Ms McGowan.
Ms McGowan stood on 50.30 per cent of the two-party preferred tally last night, one of the closest margins in Australia.
Electoral commission director of operations Steve Kennedy described the independent candidate’s position as “reasonably comfortable”.
“We’ll get a really clear indication tomorrow night of which way it’ll go,” Mr Kennedy said.
A re-count is automatically triggered if the difference is 100 votes or less or if a candidate requests a re-count in writing and it is approved by the commission after it considers a candidate’s reasons.
Mr Kennedy said a re-count was unlikely and there were no indications from either Ms McGowan or Mrs Mirabella.
“We’ll just wait and see what happens this week,” he said.
He said the final count of postal votes would occur on Friday as the commission awaits overseas votes, but the number of those votes might be so few as to not swing a final result.
In that case, an official declaration was expected to occur mid to late this week.
Mrs Mirabella praised the electoral commission in a brief phone interview yesterday afternoon.
“Well, the counting is still continuing and the electoral commission is doing a great job,” she said.
“There’s not much more to say until the vote is counted.”
Ms McGowan would not declare victory was in sight.
“I just don’t want to go there just yet,” she said.
“I’m optimistic and certainly hopeful and every day brings us nearer to a result.”
She said she has booked the Oxley hall every night this week.
“When we do get this final announcement, we’ll send the word out and have a traditional country party,” she said.
Ms McGowan would start this morning with an early de-brief of the campaign with her team before interviews with ABC’s Australian Story and Radio National.