Election guru smashes the system

THE results of the election for the seats of Lismore and Ballina may not be known until after Easter because of how close the primary votes are and because of the complex nature of the optional preferential voting system.

One of the most trusted sources for predicting an election outcome is the ABC's online site, which has The Greens taking Ballina and The Nationals holding on to Lismore.

But ABC election guru Anthony Green has written a blog, effectively saying he has broken the system when trying to get it to calculate preferences in a race between The Greens and Nationals, as opposed to the usual Labor - Coalition two party preferred count.


"In the other 90 electorates, the ABC election website is publishing estimates of preferences. In almost all cases the preferences used are based on the preferences flows from the data published on election night. However, this left a conundrum for Ballina and Lismore. What preference estimates should be used? To date I had used estimates based on past election flows," he wrote.

"This afternoon (Monday) I decided to change my approach. In both Ballina and Lismore I have extracted the preference flow data from Saturday night in the count between the National and Labor candidates. It was my intention to substitute these values as estimated preference flows between National and Green candidates.

"Unfortunately, in trying to re-build the preference tables, I corrupted the ABC's election database. The database will have to be re-built in the morning when a programmer is available."

Mr Green then goes on to do some back of an envelope calculations and said Tamara Smith (Greens) should have enough to get her over the line in Ballina, while Lismore remains too close to call and is "in doubt".

To see the blog, go to http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2015/03/ballina-and-lismore-updates.html


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