Eden-Monaro: Kotvojs concedes Eden-Monaro as counting continues

Liberal candidate for Eden-Monaro Fiona Kotvojs has conceded. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Liberal candidate for Eden-Monaro Fiona Kotvojs has conceded. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs has conceded in the Eden-Monaro byelection, as the electoral commission announced it has counted all votes in its possession.

At close of business on Thursday Labor's Kristy McBain was ahead by just 730 votes, but only a few thousand more are expected to arrive at the Electoral Commission over the next week.

Dr Kotvojs said in a statement she had spoken with Ms McBain and congratulated her on being elected.

"2020 has been a horrific year for all of us. Together we have been attacked by and fought fires, many of us faced flood, and we are still struggling through drought," Dr Kotvojs said.

"Now we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a year in which none of us wanted an election; we all have more important things to focus on than politics."

Dr Kotvojs thanked Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her supporters.

"In Eden-Monaro, it will come down to just a few hundred votes," she said.

"To each person who took the time to consider and cast an informed vote (regardless of who it was for), you have contributed to our democratic process. May we never take it for granted, may we continue to value and uphold it, and may we always do the same for each other."

Dr Kotvojs said she looked forward to returning to normality after the campaign.

"As I said, this community shaped who I am and I will always fight for it, but right now I have some fencing to do."

While not succeeding in being elected, Dr Kotvojs has so far halved the margin between the two major parties from the 2019 election.

In a statement the Australian Electoral Commission said it had now counted all the votes in its possession, including those cast on the day, those cast early and postal votes that had already been received.

"Electoral laws allow thirteen days after byelection day for postal votes to get back to us," Australian Electoral Officer for NSW Warwick Austin said.

"As is normally the case at this stage of a count, we simply have to wait to receive any new votes. We will count the new postal votes that we receive in batches as they arrive but it is fair to expect that there won't be movement on the tally room every day."

Just over 100,000 votes have been counted so far, of the 114,244 eligible voters, but that doesn't mean there are still 14,000 votes still to arrive.

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At last year's general election the voter turnout was 92.48 per cent and historically turnout in byelections is lower than general elections. It is expected between a thousand and 2000 votes are still to arrive over the next eight days.

It is expected the Electoral Commission won't officially call the election until after the 13 days is up, with a few more days to confirm the count and organise a declaration event.

This story Kotvojs concedes Eden-Monaro as counting continues first appeared on The Canberra Times.