Polling booths in Bragg by-election close as South Australian voters face third election in four months

Vote counting in the Bragg by-election is officially underway as polling booths across Adelaide’s eastern suburbs close.

It is the third time in four months that voters have been asked to head to the polls, with some expressing “election fatigue.”

Despite that, more than 20,000 people are expected to have cast a vote today. Here is the current state of play:

liberals the favorites

The Bragg by-election was triggered by the departure of South Australia’s former attorney-general Vickie Chapman, who quit the same day politics former environment minister David Speirs was elected the new Liberal leader.

Bragg — which covers most of the City of Burnside and overlaps with Sturt on a federal level — has been held by the Liberal Party since the seat was created in 1970.

Posters at a polling booth
Candidate Jack Batty has been heralded as the future of the SA Liberal Party.(ABC News: Evelyn Manfield)

Liberal candidate Jack Batty, 31, is considered the frontrunner for the seat, with party leader David Speirs describing him as “the new generation of the Liberal Party.”‘

“Vickie Chapman gave 20 years of service to our parliament and to our state, she leaves a wonderful legacy,” Mr Batty said.

Ms Chapman won the seat in March, despite a 7.6 percent swing against the Liberal Party.

Labor, Greens hoping to cause upset

Despite that swing, the Liberals still hold Bragg by an 8.2 per cent margin.

Even Labor Premier Peter Malinauskas awarded Labor’s candidate, Alice Rolls, had a limited chance of winning the seat.

“Bragg is very much the jewel in the Liberal Party’s crown. This is their diamond but I believe in showing up and flying the flag and Alice Rolls is an outstanding candidate.”

Ms Rolls is hoping to build upon discontent with the Liberal Party after a number of voters expressed annoyance at Ms Chapman’s resignation.

“At a cost of almost three-quarters of a million dollars … they are angry about that. They are also angry that they feel like they have been taken for granted in this seat.”

A man with a beard wearing a colorful scarf while holding a how to vote card
Environmentalist Jim Bastiras is hoping for another swing to the Greens.(ABC News: Evelyn Manfield)

Greens candidate James Bastiras is hoping to ride the “green wave” that has swept across SA after the party picked up more than 12 percent of the primary vote in Bragg.

The Greens also saw a 5.2 per cent swing towards them in Sturt at the federal election.

“We are the party that stands for strong action on climate change and all that involves, including the protection of our tree canopies, our creeks, and we are also arguing for more school placements for our young primary school kids,” Mr Bastiras said.

History teacher Daryl McCann is representing Family First.

Results unlikely before next week

According to the Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA), more than 4,500 early votes have been cast in the by-election with a similar amount of postal vote applications sent out.

“With this number of votes, the results for the Bragg by-election may not be known until next week, after the declaration votes are counted.”

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