Coleman / Anxiety of the election-night anchorman

“The clear winner in Tharwa is “We’ll never see a tram this century” closely followed by “Why didn’t we get as many corflutes as the rest of Canberra put up here?”

Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman.

I HAVE a dream. Actually, it’s more a nightmare.

On Saturday night I’ll be the anchorman for 2CC’s election night coverage. In a 30-year career, it’ll be the first time I’ve hosted an event like this and that’s frightening because having had numerous roles on election nights, I know what can go wrong.

Hence my nightmares about what could happen once the polls close and our coverage starts… (in a TV show, this is where you’d hear a harp glissando. Feel free to imagine one of your own).

SATURDAY, 6.15PM: Well, it’s 15 minutes since the polls closed. And the first vote count has come in. We were expecting it to be from Oaks Estate, but it’s been held up. It seems there’s been some sort of late protest from the locals. They’ve taken the ballot boxes hostage and said they’ll only release them if they can get them on some sort of direct ACTION bus to the Electoral Commission office in Civic. I’m not sure how that’ll be resolved, so instead we have the count from the Tharwa booth in the seat of Brindabella.

With less than a couple of hundred votes to count there it was always going to be a fast set of numbers, and it seems the clear winner in Tharwa is “We’ll never see a tram this century” closely followed by “Why didn’t we get as many corflutes as the rest of Canberra put up here?”. One of those results is a bit of a surprise. We’ll check back later for more detailed preference flows.

8.42PM: The hotly-contested Ginninderra electorate has turned up some surprises tonight, but it has also turned up its share of problems. The biggest one being that the number of people who voted electronically being way down. It’s had us here in the studio mystified all night but the reason for this has become clear. It seems some people who wanted to make a protest write-in vote scrawled “Don’t close our walk-in centre” on the e-voting screens, effectively rendering them useless.

9.38 PM: We were hoping to have a good indication of who’ll be forming the next ACT government by now, but as we’ve been saying all night, the votes in Murrumbidgee have been particularly slow in coming through. Mainly residents turned en-masse up at polling stations across the electorate with roadside signs of all varieties and stuffed them into the ballot boxes. A bit of community anger there.

SUNDAY, 1.34 AM: The longest political night in ACT history and we’re still no closer to finding out a winner. The confusion across the ACT has taken its toll. Chief Minister Andrew Barr was last seen looking for a length of light rail track to tie himself to in protest, while Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson has reportedly been muttering stuff at Liberal HQ about getting some of his old army mates and equipment to “sort out the mess”. We’ve promised to stay with you until there’s some clarity over the result, grab yourself another coffee, we could be here for quite a while longer yet…

Chris Coleman is the drive host on 2CC and will be presenting the station’s election-night coverage from 6pm on Saturday, October 15.

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