UPDATE | Tuesday December 4, 7pm
It is highly likely Labor’s Sarah De Santis will serve as the member of parliament for the district for Ripon for the next four years.
The final distribution of preferences for Ripon from the Victorian Electoral Commission on Tuesday evening showed Ms De Santis received 20,030 votes in the two-party preferred count, 31 more than Liberal Party’s Louise Staley.
A VEC spokesperson confirmed preference distribution had been completed on Tuesday evening for Ripon.
Given the extremely close nature of the count, there is a possibility for a recount. It is up to the VEC to decide if one is needed.
Ms De Santis said she was “incredibly excited” to finish ahead after a long journey and that she is excited to begin delivering election promises to the people of Ripon.
UPDATE | Tuesday December 4, 1pm
Louise Staley’s slight grip on the district of Ripon is firming as the Victorian Electoral Commission continues counting and rechecks this week.
As of 1pm on Tuesday, Ms Staley had 20,178 votes in the two-party preferred count, 79 more than Labor’s Sarah De Santis.
43,658 or 91.38 per cent of Ripon’s total enrolment had been counted at that point in time.
On Tuesday, region provisional votes will continue to be rechecked, amalgamation of district votes in preparation for preference distribution will be completed and preference distribution will commence.
Preference distributions are scheduled to be completed by close of business on Wednesday December 5. The preference distributions will provide the final order of candidates.
Ripon is likely to finish as the most marginal district in Victoria out of the 88 electorates.
UPDATE | Sunday December 2, 4.30pm
An update from the Victorian Electoral Commission has placed Liberal candidate Louise Staley marginally ahead as rechecking continued on Sunday.
She leads Labor’s Sarah De Santis by 84 votes on a two-party preferred count.
The tally was updated by the Victorian Electoral Commission at 4pm on Sunday with 91.32 per cent of the total votes rechecked in Ripon.
3616 or 8.29 per cent of the votes were informal at that time.
The update from the VEC had Ms De Santis at 20,083 votes, with Ms Staley on 20,167 votes.
EARLIER | Thursday November 29, 10.30am
An update from the Victorian Electoral Commision has placed Labor candidate Sarah De Santis ahead by just 10 votes on a two-party preferred count in Ripon.
Liberal Party’s Louise Staley had moved out 200 votes clear of her opponent, but with 18,903 or 39.57 per cent of votes rechecked and 38,628 counted in total, it is Ms De Santis in front.
The update from the VEC had Ms De Santis at 19,319 votes, with Ms Staley on 19,309 votes.
A winner of the seat is likely to be unable to be determined until next week, with postal votes still allowed to be received by the VEC until Friday.
About 365 postal votes are expected to be counted in Ripon.
Throughout the day on Thursday, counting will continue of early votes issued in other electorates and roll checks and counting of absent votes received from other districts
EARLIER | Wednesday, November 28
Incumbent Ripon MP Louise Staley has increased her chances of sitting for a second term, pulling ahead to a 210 vote lead with 73.96 per cent of votes counted.
Ms Staley was trailing Labor’s Sarah De Santis by 60 votes with with 70.44 per cent of the vote counted, but an update from the Victorian Electoral Commission on Tuesday night has Ms Staley ahead.
Ms Staley had received 12,983 first primary votes, 318 more than Ms De Santis.
However after preferences Ms De Santis had made up nearly one third of the gap but still trailed with just 49.68 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
It is one of the first times since starting counted for Ripon that Ms Staley has pulled ahead, with Ms De Santis holding slender leads for the majority of the counting process.
A win for Ms Staley could be a shining light for the Coalition who had a shocking election, with Daniel Andrews and the Labor Party winning a huge majority in the lower house.
A result for Ripon is not expected may not be known until next week, with postal votes still allowed to be received by the VEC until Friday.
In a disappointing show, 2638 or 7.47 per cent of votes in Ripon were informal at the time of the most recent update.
The statewide average of informal votes was at 5.51 per cent, nearly 750 votes less than the informal votes cast in Ripon.
TUESDAY, 8.30AM: The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) says voters in Ripon will have to wait until Wednesday or Thursday before further updates in counting will be known.
A spokesperson for the VEC told The Courier on Monday afternoon counting was paused while vote checking was undertaken.
The spokesperson said the seats with the closest margins were being prioritised. Ripon was one of those electorates, she said.
The count in the district of Ripon is expected to go down to the wire for the second consecutive state election.
As of 8.30pm on Monday evening, Labor’s Sarah De Santis held a slim 60 vote lead after preferences from the Liberal Party and incumbent MP Louise Staley.
In an update from the Victorian Electoral Commission at 6.27pm on Sunday, Ms De Santis had received 15,580 preferenced votes (50.1 per cent) ahead of Ms Staley’s 15,520 (49.9 per cent).
70.44 per cent of votes in the electorate had been counted at that point in time.
Ms Staley had received 80 more first preference votes but preferences from other parties helping Ms De Santis into a slender lead.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has told The Courier the final results are unlikely to be clear until Wednesday.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Peter Fava had received the third most amount of first preference votes.