Fran Bailey’s seat under threat again

The tightest electoral race in history just re-started.

The first count of votes in McEwan put Labor candidate Rob Mitchell ahead by six votes. The second – after a challenge by Liberal candidate and former federal small business minister Fran Bailey – put Bailey ahead by 12 votes.

Now, it has been revealed that Mitchell has appealed the decision of the Australian Electoral Commission to the Court of Disputed Returns and asked for 640 previously challenged votes to be recounted.

He reportedly is claiming that a number of the votes were excluded because of sloppy handwriting despite the voter’s intention being clear.

The case promises to clarify the law on interpreting voting ballots but it recasts the cloud over Bailey’s future.

She decided not to put herself forward for the small business spokeswoman role in opposition – the roles were allocated before the result in her electorate was declared by the AEC. If she holds her seat she will stay on the back bench.

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