Factbox: Australian election result may hang on the postman

CANBERRA (BestGrowthStock) – Australia’s cliffhanger election could rely on votes in the post as election officials continue to decide the results in a clutch of close seats.

Official results give both the ruling Labor Party and the Liberal-National Party opposition about 70 seats each in the 150 seat parliament. The Greens will win one and independents up to four seats. But around six seats remain too close to call.

Voting is compulsory for about 14 million Australians aged 18 or older.

Here are some facts and figures from the weekend vote:

* The Australian Electoral Commission counted around 11 million of the nation’s 14 million expected votes on Saturday, but must now look to a record number of postal votes and votes from people who were away from their home base on election day.

* Both major parties made a big push in marginal seats to make sure those on holidays or away from home, interstate or overseas on election day have access to a pre-election postal vote.

* By last Friday, election officials said 1.8 million votes had been made early, including at least 951,000 postal votes.

* Labor analysts fear the postal votes may flow against the government, as many may have been made a few weeks ago when Gillard’s campaign was in disarray due to cabinet leaks and internal tensions over former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

* Counting can continue for two weeks in close seats. Election laws say postal votes must be counted if they arrive within 13 days of the election, as long as the vote was made and posted before the close of polls on August 21. That allows time for mail to arrive from Australian voters who were in remote areas or distant countries during the election.

(Reporting by James Grubel, editing by Miral Fahmy)

Factbox: Australian election result may hang on the postman