Anthony trails but figures have him in the box seat

THE battle for the marginal seat of Richmond see-sawed throughout the day yesterday, but sitting National Party MP Larry Anthony still appears to be in the box seat.

The Children and Youth Affairs Minister crept to within 32 votes behind his ALP rival Justine Elliott after all 4300 postal votes were counted by about noon.

Mr Anthony secured 2578 postal votes compared to Ms Elliott's 1736, substantially cutting back her 1150-vote margin after polling-day votes were counted.

But Ms Elliott then widened the gap to 264 votes following a count of 694 provisional votes which were cast on election day but needed to be verified because of potential anomalies.

The provisional votes reflected Ms Elliott's polling-day triumph, with 463 favouring her compared with 231 going to Mr Anthony.

Electoral Commission staff will today determine the eligibility of some 5500 pre-poll and absentee votes which will determine the final result.

Returning officer Michael Averay said staff would probably count about 1500 of these votes today before calling it a day.

Mr Averay said staff would not be working tomorrow but would resume on Monday.

"Everyone has been working hard since last Sunday and they are all very tired and need at least one day off," he said.

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