Div 14 result in balance

THE result in Gold Coast Division 14 by-election on Saturday was still too close to call last night, but Chris Robbins, the sister-in-law of the late Sue Robbins, the seat's former incumbent, was leading the primary count.

About 15,000 southern Gold Coast residents were expected to turn out to vote in the by-election called to find a replacement for former Cr Sue Robbins who died suddenly last November 13.

But the new councillor may not be known for a couple of days, as preferences are likely to decide the eventual winner of the poll.

Only 66.36 per cent of the vote had been counted by 7.38pm on Saturday, according to the Gold Coast City Council's website.

Chris Robbins, co-ordinator of beachside markets, had more than 3100 primary votes, followed by Kellie Trigger, the electoral assistant for Mudgeeraba Labor MP Di Reilly, with just over 2600 primary votes.

In third place was Queensland Greens candidate Anja Light with 1000-plus votes, closely followed by Linda Carmody, founder of Bicycle Gold Coast, with just under 1000 primary votes.

While voters had a choice of 14 names on the ballot paper, only 13 candidates had a real chance, as James Seymour, a Surfside bus driver, pulled out of the race last week but was too late to take his name off the ballot.

Candidates had formed three major alliances in their campaign, with Ms Trigger, Ms Carmody and former Channel 9 reporter James Kelly directing preferences to each other.

Ms Trigger will also allocate preferences to Ms Light, who is returning the favour.

Another alliance includes Chris Robbins, Lynn Scammell, a founding member of the Surfrider Foundation, and John Vanzino, a Gold Coast City Council planning officer.

The third main grouping is Bradley Stubbs, a former limousine driver, Ian Wood, a manager of a Murwillumbah hardware store, and Jack Dunn, a takeaway food outlet operator.

By-election returning officer Cec McPaul said he had expected about 80 per cent of residents to vote.

The hotly contested poll was marked by accusations by some candidates that their opponents had links to a so-called council bloc as well as political parties.

Counting resumes this morning.

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