Aus election: Counting is underway

Aus election: Counting is underway

Agency News

Canberra, May 18 : Federal election polling booths in Australia have closed and counting is underway, after a long day of photo opportunities, handshakes and sausage sizzles.

At about 7:40pm AEST, the ABC's election computer predicted former prime minister Tony Abbott had lost his NSW seat of Warringah to independent Zali Steggall,according to ABC News report. About 18 per cent of the vote had been counted at that point. The Liberals had held the seat by a large margin of 11.1 per cent, with Mr Abbott serving as the Warringah MP since 1994.

Data from about 7:30pm AEST suggested the Tasmanian electorate of Braddon would be won by the Coalition, from Labor.Meanwhile Labor was tipped to take the NSW seat of Gilmore, which was previously held by the Coalition. Despite a record number of pre-poll votes being submitted before today, the official count could not begin before the clock ticked over to 6:00pm.

"Any ballot box opened before 6:00pm on election night can have its votes voided," chief elections analyst Antony Green said. "Maybe the law should be changed, but no electoral commissioner would consider breaking the current law." Voters in WA were the last to cast their votes this evening, joining the rest of the country in the election waiting game.Now the campaign is officially over, all that is left to do is monitor the results.

Paradoxically, the huge influx of pre-poll votes could cause a delay in the final result announcement. While most pre-poll votes will be counted when voting closes today, some, including declaration votes, are not counted until the days after the election."It's a huge logistic activity," Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers told the ABC earlier this week.

"We'll be doing our very best, but there may well be some delays on the night." Earlier today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he still felt energised after the month-long campaign and that he hoped to keep working for the country. He took to Twitter to thank his supporters and those he met on the campaign trail. Search all electorates and set favourites to keep up-to-date on the vote count.

"I'm taking nothing for granted and as Prime Minister my pledge is always to continue to back you and all Australians to achieve your aspirations," he said. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten voted this morning at Moonee Ponds West Primary School and said he would be ready to "hit the ground" from tomorrow if he won.

He posted a last-minute bid for votes in the dying hours of the day."One final push. To stop the cuts, end the chaos and deliver change, vote Labor," he wrote on Twitter. UNi