UPDATE Friday December, 6.30pm
Despite being expected to finish on Friday, the recount of the marginal district of Ripon will run into the weekend.
The VEC confirmed the recount of preference distribution will continue from 9am on Saturday morning at the Ripon election office in Stawell.
More information of when a winner will be known will be released at the weekend.
UPDATE Thursday December 6, 7pm
The Victorian Electoral Commission has called for a full preference distribution recount in the marginal seat of Ripon.
The VEC spent all of Thursday conducting a full third round of re-checks but announced on Thursday evening “a further full recount preference distribution will take place from 9am at the Ripon District Election Office”.
Labor’s Sarah De Santis led Liberal’s Louise Staley by 31 votes at the end of preference distribution.
More to come.
SARAH De Santis is one step closer to being elected as the new Ripon MP after counting finished with the Labor candidates just 31 votes ahead of Liberal Louise Staley.
But Ms De Santis is not quite ready to take her seat in Victoria’s lower house just yet, with final declarations still to be announced.
Speaking to Fairfax Media on Wednesday morning, Ms De Santis said there was still a long way to go and believing there may still be a chance of a recount.
“I’m sure there will be a push for a recount,” Ms De Santis said. “It’s not just one position, there’s staff involved, there’s people’s livelihoods as well.
“We always thought it could not get any closer than .8 of a per cent, I guess we were wrong about that.
“But right now, it’s all in the hands of the Victoria Electoral Commission.”
Ms De Santis said she had tried to remain calm despite the long wait to determine the seat.
“You put in all the effort possible in the lead up to the election, but after election day, there’s nothing more you can do,” she said.
At the close of counting and preference distribution, Ms De Santis leads with 20030 votes, compared to Ms Staley’s 19999.
On Wednesday the VEC called for another recheck of certain votes, ensuring all votes had been rechecked three times.
A VEC spokesperson confirmed Ms Staley had called for a recount. At the time The Ararat Advertiser went to press a decision about a recount had not been made by the VEC.
“Given the margin of 31 votes, and to assure candidates that all ballot papers have been examined at least three times, a further check of first preference ballot papers and informal ballot papers was conducted,” electoral commissioner Warwick Gately said.
A Victorian Electoral Commission spokesman said as it stands there is a “successful candidate but it’s not until the declaration that the candidate will be elected”.
The spokesman said any candidate could request a recount, but whether it happens would be up to the electoral commissioner.
“There’s not magic threshold or number to say there must be a recount,” he said.
“The votes have been counted and recounted, so you would need to look closely to see if there are any grounds for it.”