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With counting now under way, we are getting some early results from Bellarine, Brownbill and Windermere Wards (update: and Kardinia Ward). These results and analysis are as follows:

Just over a third of the vote has been counted in Bellarine Ward, and it shows Stephanie Asher leading decisively with well over a quota in her own right, plus a significant surplus amounting to just under half a quota. Trent Sullivan is just under half a quota, as is Jim Mason.

On her how to vote material, Asher recommended a vote for herself, followed by Sullivan. With both being ideologically alike, I can't imagine a significant leakage of preferences from Asher's surplus going to other candidates ahead of Sullivan, which in all likelihood will push him to a position where he will be able to get to a quota.

I think Jim Mason should be able to hold on to the last seat from his current position. Crucially, Elise Wilksinson has recommended her voters preference Mason at number 2 on her how to vote cards. If followed, this will make it difficult for other candidates to catch up.

All in all, the three incumbents should be returned for a second term.

Under a quarter of the vote has been counted in Brownbill Ward. Sarah Mansfield currently leads the count and has just over 0.8 of a quota. With Gabriel Wenyika publishing how to vote cards recommending a number 2 for Jose Rodriguez and a number 3 for Mansfield, this should be enough to push her over a quota (Rodrigeuz is too far behind to catch up, even with a majority of Wenyika's preferences).

Melissa Cadwell is in with a slim chance of taking one of the seats. On current numbers, Cadwell needs around 200 votes to jump ahead of Eddy Kontelj - which exists with Alex Csar and Louis Hehir, the two other Labor Party members running - and around 400 votes to push ahead of Stretch Kontelj, assuming neither of them benefit too heavily from preference flows. From here, Cadwell would require less than 100 votes to jump ahead of Peter Murrihy, assuming that he too doesn't gain significant flows of preferences from earlier eliminations.

The two Kontelj's have seemingly shot themselves in the foot by running together, as both could miss out on a seat if Cadwell does manage to push ahead of Murrihy on preferences. However, a quota does exist between the two Kontelj's and preference flows between the pair are likely to be tight. This will work against Murrihy.

Mansfield should be re-elected, followed likely by one of the two Kontelj's. The final seat will be between Cadwell and Murrihy, depending on who finishes ahead.

Update 30 October 2020 - the vote count is now more than 60 per cent. Mansfield and Eddy Kontelj have improved their positions, while Stretch Kontelj has fallen behind Eddy. Murrihy's relative position has also deteriorated slightly. Cadwell's position, on the other hand, has improved slightly, who requires just over a thousand votes from preferences to push ahead of Murrihy. Around 1,200 votes exists with Hehir and Csar, which will be enough if how to vote material has been followed by voters as well as assuming Murrihy doesn't benefit from preference flows.

One of the two Kontelj's (Eddy most likely at this point) will get the second seat. Final seat is still between Cadwell and Murrihy.

Update 2 November 2020 - close to 80 per cent of the vote has been counted in Brownbill Ward (presumably the full turnout for this election). Mansfield, Murrihy and the Kontelj's have all improved their position while Cadwell's position is looking more precarious. Although it's still doable for Cadwell, I'd favour Murrihy to be re-elected at this point.

Update 2 November 2020 - like in 2017, there is only around 5 per cent of the total vote that separates all but the top two candidates, making this the most difficult ward to predict the outcome. However we can get some ideas as to what the final outcome may be based on who's running and their published how to vote material.

There were no fewer than four Labor Party members standing in this ward. Almost all of them placed Jack Williams at number 2 or 3 on their how to vote material and given his current standing position, combined with there being well over a quota among the Labor Party members, I'd favour his chances of election on this basis.

It seems however that incumbent Pat Murnane has been defeated, or his position is at least incredibly precarious. He has recommended preferences to fellow incumbents Bruce Harwood followed by Ron Nelson - this will be enough to push Bruce Harwood to a quota but with little surplus meaning Nelson won't benefit a great deal.

A possible wildcard however is Belinda Moloney, who is in a strong position to benefit from Jen Gamble and Anthony Hamilton-Smith's preferences (number 2 on both candidates' how to vote material). However, these two eliminations alone won't be enough to push Moloney over a quota. However, if Williams is elected before Moloney's elimination, she'll most likely benefit from the majority of preferences - pushing her over a quota.

All in all, I think Harwood should be comfortably re-elected. The second seat I'm calling for Williams. The third seat will be between Nelson and Moloney, with Moloney favoured.

With more than 60 per cent of the vote counted in Windermere Ward, it's looking like things may be more interesting than previously thought, particularly for the second seat.

Anthony Aitken should hold a quota in his own right, however Kylie Grzybek's position becomes very precarious, who is about 2200 votes (or 11%) behind a quota.

On her published how to vote cards, Monique Connell recommended her voters place Enamul Haque at number 2, followed by Sarah Hathway at number 3. However, I expect that there will to be significant leakage. Hathway needs just over half of Connell's preferences to jump ahead of Grzybek. Haque needs just over a third of Connell's preferences to jump ahead of Hathway. From here, the outcome will be determined by who finishes ahead. Hathway has recommended her voters preference Haque ahead of the two incumbents on her published how to vote cards, which if followed will be enough to push Haque to a quota.

If after Connell's elimination, Hathway remains ahead of Haque, it becomes a lot more speculative. Haque did not publish any how to vote material, however I fully expect that in general - if people aren't voting for the two incumbents, given how tightly they were coordinating their campaigns, that they'll be voting against them. This means that this will likely be enough to push Hathway ahead of Grzybek and to a quota.

Either way, I don't favour Grzybek's chances of re-election on these numbers, even with Aitken's surplus 0.18 of a quota.

Update 2 November 2020 - the full turnout in Windermere Ward has been counted. Aitken's position has fallen but he still gets a quota in his own right, but it makes it more challenging for Gryzbek, who's primary vote position remains the same. While Hathway, Connell and Haque's positions have all improved slightly. Enamul finishes narrowly in last place, meaning he'll be the first eliminated. Connell will need slightly less than half of Haque's preferences to move ahead of Hathway, which may be a difficult feat considering Haque's lack of how to vote material. If Connell is next eliminated, Hathway will be the most likely beneficiary of her preferences and this will be enough to push her ahead of Grzybek and over a quota. The same will likely be true for Connell if Hathway is the second candidate eliminated.

The second seat will be between Hathway and Connell in my opinion. Grzybek's chance of re-election is now a lot more distant than it was earlier.

Data source: Mitchell's Front Page.

Geelong Council 2020: The Current State of Play
By Matt Hrkac, 22 October 2020

I've been running polls on each ward page in my coverage of the Geelong Council Elections, with the question asking: "who do you think will (as opposed to who you want to) win?"

Although none of this is scientific, a similar question I asked during the 2018 Victorian State Election yielded results that were pretty accurate and which captured community sentiment. Below is a breakdown of the polls asked in relation to the 2020 Council Elections, broken down ward by ward.

Green bars represent candidates who are almost certain to be elected. Yellow bars represent candidates where a contest for the seat is likely. Orange bars represent an outside chance on current numbers and red bars represent candidates who are unlikely to be elected on current numbers.

The two incumbents, Jim Mason and Stephanie Asher, are the clear front runners in Bellarine Ward. Although Cory Wolverton (Greens) commands a significant lead for the third seat, I refuse to believe that his position is as secure as these results make him out to be. However, what it does show is that Trent Sullivan is at risk of losing his position and that the third seat is up for grabs. Tom O'Connor, Tom Harrison, Stephen Simmonds and Elise Wilkinson I've rated as an outside chance, especially if voters preference flow between ideologically like-minded candidates higher than those who are ideologically different.

Update 22 October 2020 - Cory Wolverton moves ahead of Stephanie Asher while the middle of the field firms up. If these numbers repeat in the actual vote count, Wolverton would almost certainly be elected while Asher would win re-election off the back of  Trent Sullivan's voters preferencing her ahead of the other candidates. However, I still refuse to believe that Wolverton is as certain as this to be elected, hence his status remains the same.

Brownbill Ward also has two clear front runners with Sarah Mansfield and Peter Murrihy, who are two of the three incumbent Councillors. I have no reason to bring this into question. Eddy Kontelj has a slender lead for the third seat, though this is by no means secure and on current numbers, it will come down between him, Melissa Cadwell and Stretch Kontelj. I predict that preference flows between the two Kontelj's will be tight, which means that Eddy will likely take the third spot. Jose Rodrigeuz is an outside chance but on current numbers will require strong preference flows from voters of other candidates to jump ahead.

In Kardinia Ward, Bruce Harwood and Pat Murnane - who are incumbents - are the two clear front runners. I've rated the third seat as a clear contest between Ron Nelson, Jack Williams and Atamjit Singh on current numbers. Once again, like in 2017, it looks as though that candidates will receive a remarkably even share of the vote - hence all of Belinda Moloney, Michael Strangel, Mark Brunger, Andrew Alexander, Andy Richards and Anthony Hamilton-Smith are all rated as an outside chance for election on current numbers.

There are only five candidates running in Windermere Ward, however there is no love lost between the two incumbents and the three candidates running against them. This means that Monique Connell, on current numbers, is extremely well placed to defeat one of the incumbents if preference flows to her from people voting for Emanul Haque and Sarah Hathway are strong. One of the incumbents is certain to be elected, however, without a clear front-runner, it's difficult to ascertain who is most likely to be successful.

Update 22 October 2020 - Anthony Aitken moves ahead. On these numbers, he is unlikely to lose his seat.

Who do you think will win seats in your ward? Comment below.

Geelong Council 2020: Windermere Ward
By Matt Hrkac, 21 October 2020

This is part of a series of posts for the 2020 City of Greater Geelong Council Elections.

Windermere Ward covers Geelong's northern suburbs, as well as Lara and the rural townships in the northern outskirts of Geelong. The area constituting this ward is firmly working class. The two incumbent Councillors, elected in 2017, are Anthony Aitken and Kylie Grzybek.

The candidates standing for election in this ward are as follows (in ballot paper order):

  • Enamul Haque (Independent)
  • Kylie Grzybek (Independent)
  • Monique Connell (Independent/Put Climate First)
  • Anthony Aitken (Independent)
  • Sarah Hathway (Socialist Alliance)

Audience participation:

Geelong Council 2020: Kardinia Ward
By Matt Hrkac, 14 October 2020

This is part of a series of posts for the 2020 City of Greater Geelong Council Elections.

Kardinia Ward covers Geelong's southern suburbs, situated south of the Barwon River. Demographically, the ward can be divided into three distinct parts: Grovedale and Belmont, which are predominately working class; Highton and Wandana Heights; which are middle to upper middle class, and Armstrong Creek, Waurn Ponds and the semi-rural southern outskirts - which is predominately a growth area. The three incumbent Councillors are Bruce Harwood, Ron Nelson and Pat Murnane.

The candidates standing for election in this ward are as follows (in ballot paper order):

  • Jack Williams (Independent Labor)
  • Ron Nelson (Independent Liberal)
  • Andy Richards (Independent Labor)
  • Pat Murnane (Independent)
  • Atamjit Singh (Independent Labor)
  • Belinda Moloney (Independent/Put Climate First, former Animal Justice Party)
  • Anthony Hamilton-Smith (Greens)
  • Bruce Harwood (Independent)
  • Andrew Alexander (Independent Labor)
  • Mark Brunger (Independent)
  • Jen Gamble (Animal Justice Party)
  • Michael Strangel (Independent)

Audience participation:

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Geelong Council 2020: Brownbill Ward
By Matt Hrkac, 09 October 2020

This is part of a series of posts for the 2020 City of Greater Geelong Council Elections.

Brownbill Ward takes in Geelong's central suburbs. Demographically, the ward can be divided into three parts: the low-income working class eastern suburbs of Newcomb, Whittington and St Albans Park, the more upmarket and gentrified/gentrifying central/western suburbs of East Geelong, South Geelong, Newtown, Geelong West, and Manifold Heights; and the working class/multicultural outer west and inner north, consisting of North Geelong, Herne Hill, Hamlyn Heights, Bell Park and Bell Post Hill. The three incumbent Councillors are Eddy Kontelj, Sarah Mansfield and Peter Murrihy.

The candidates standing for election in this ward are as follows (in ballot paper order):

  • Sandi Dwyer (Independent/Put Climate First Alliance)
  • Bernie Franke (Independent)
  • Alex Csar (Independent Labor)
  • Peter Murrihy (Independent)
  • Stretch Kontelj (Independent Liberal)
  • Sarah Mansfield (Greens)
  • Eddy Kontelj (Independent)
  • Gabriel Wenyika (Independent)
  • Dean Frederick Hope (Independent)
  • Louis Hehir (Independent Labor)
  • Jose Rodrigeus (Independent)
  • Melissa Cadwell (Independent Labor)

Audience participation:

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Geelong Council 2020: Bellarine Ward
By Matt Hrkac, 07 October 2020

This is part of a series of posts for the 2020 City of Greater Geelong Council Elections.

Bellarine Ward takes in most of the Bellarine Peninsula - including the towns of Leopold, Drysdale, Portarlington, St Leonards, Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads. This ward elects three Councillors via the proportional representation method of election. The incumbent Councillors are Stephanie Asher, Jim Mason and Trent Sullivan.

The candidates standing for election in this ward are as follows (in ballot paper order):

  • Tom O'Connor (Independent)
  • Elise Wilkinson (Independent/Put Climate First Alliance)
  • Stephanie Asher (Independent Liberal)
  • Trent Sullivan (Independent Liberal)
  • Naomi Adams (Animal Justice Party)
  • Jim Mason (Independent Labor)
  • Michael Fairweather (Independent)
  • Cory Wolverton (Greens)
  • Tom Harrison (Independent, former Labor)
  • Stephen John Simmonds (Independent)

Audience participation:

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2020 Geelong Council Election Guide - now live
By Matt Hrkac, 05 September 2020

My guide to the October 2020 Geelong Council Election is now live, with a number of people already announcing their intentions to run as candidates.

I add content to the guide based on information that is publicly available - this includes political party memberships (party endorsed candidates are denoted specifically as such), candidate backgrounds, biographies, etc. I also rely on candidates sending through information about themselves for inclusion in the guide, for which this form can be used. Media releases can be sent using this form.

With time permitting, I also intend to do guides for the Surf Coast Shire, Borough of Queenscliffe, and Melbourne City councils.

Finally, if you find my work useful, consider supporting with a small donation.

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