We have heard that counting in the ultra-marginal seat of Herbert in far north Queensland has slowed to a snail’s pace after 177 informal ballots from one booth went missing.

Ms Tips has heard that the ballots weren’t in the box they were placed in on Saturday and cannot be found. A search of all the Senate ballot boxes could not locate the missing ballots, either.

Staff on the ground are unsure what to do, and counting in the seat that will be crucial for the Coalition to form a majority government has slowed as a result.

As of the last AEC report, Labor’s Cathy O’Toole leads over the sitting member, LNP’s MP Ewen Jones by just 449 votes, with many expecting that postal votes would result in a narrow victory for Jones.

We’ve contacted the AEC to find out what has happened to the ballot papers and the count, and will update this story when we hear back.

Peter Fray

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