Orange byelection declaration delayed

NEW MEMBER FOR ORANGE? Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate Philip Donato is still expected to win the Orange seat, but the official announcement has been delayed up to an hour.THE 7000 people who failed to turn out on polling day for the Orange byelection left one of the closest results in the seat’s history.

The declaration of the poll was expected at5pmtoday, but has now been delayed by up to an hour (6pm).

At the moment it’s looking more and more likely Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Phillip Donato will take the seat.

Donato is leading the count 18,631 to Scott Barrett’s 18,547.

Mr Barrett won on the primary vote with 31.58 per cent, followed by Mr Donato on 23.76 per cent.

Country Labor candidate Bernard Fitzsimon came third on 18.33per cent, followed by independents Scott Munro and Kevin Duffy on 9.36 per centand 6.58 per centrespectively, followed by The Greens’ Janelle Bicknell on 5.67 per cent.

Christian Democratic Party candidate Dianne Decker gained 3.38 per cent of the primary vote and independent Ian Donald brought up the rear on 1.33 per cent.

Candidates and their supporters knew they were in for a big nighton Saturdaywhen Mr Donato placed second across several of the booths after Mr Barrett won some of his own.

The count suffered a setback when the crucial two-candidatepreferred (TCP) results were taken off the NSW Electoral Commission website at8pmbecause the commission had assumed a Nationals-Labor race.

Once the TCP count was rectifiedon Sunday, Mr Donato remained in front but the count remained close, with the lead no more than 3 per cent at any giventime.

FromTuesdayafternoon untilWednesdayafternoon, the count remained at 50.11 per cent to 49.89 per cent in favour of Mr Donato, a difference of 84 votes in a total pool of 48,345 formalvotes.

It remains unclear whether the result could have been far more decisive had more people voted on election day.

Of the 56,242 registered electors, only 49,687 ballot papers were received, or 88.3 per cent.

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