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Who will win the second ACT Senate spot?

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For ACT voters, there's only one game in town – who will win the second Senate spot?

The territory is allocated two places in the upper house, whereas the six states have 12 Senators each, regardless of population.

Canberra's population of about 380,000 is represented by two Senators and Tasmania's population of about 512,000 by 12 Senators. Go figure.

Is that fair? Hardly. And the result? The voters in Tasmania have the greatest influence of any state of the composition of the Senate.

But we digress.

In Canberra, Labor's Kate Lundy is a shoe-in for the Senate.


At the 2010 election, Labor's ACT Senate team led by Senator Lundy scored around 93,000 votes, with 76,000 for the Liberals led by then Senator Gary Humphries and 52,000 for the Greens led by Lin Hatfield Dodds.

With two Senate spots on offer, the quota for a win was set at one third of the votes, 76,423.

Lundy and Humphries were elected.

This year Zed Seselja won a preselection ballot to become the Liberal's Senate candidate, ending Mr Humphries' decade-long career in the Senate.

Mr Seselja ran a high profile campaign last year for the ACT Legislative Assembly when he was ACT Opposition Leader.

For this election, therefore, he already has much-needed name recognition.

But wait. In case you've been overseas, the Greens are running a high-intensity campaign, led by Simon Sheikh, former front man for activist group GetUp.

He has followed Mr Seselja's example from last year, with a proliferation of signs on road sides.

The Greens are campaigning hard on their desire to "Abbott proof" the Senate.

Running in their favour are the Coalition's late cuts to foreign aid and the decision to increase the so-called efficiency dividend on the public service, in addition to the 12,000 positions to be abolished nationwide through natural attrition.

Going against the Greens are the core support for the Liberal party in the ACT and the nationwide swing to the Coalition.

Both the Liberals and the Greens say it will be a close race, but they would say that, wouldn’t they?

We won't know the result until later tonight because the votes for the ACT's two lower house seats are counted first and phoned in from polling booths around Canberra.

Then, Australian Electoral Commission officials will tally up the two-candidate-preferred vote in each polling station after the distribution of preferences.

Only then will they turn to counting the Senate vote.

The Canberra Times will publish results from the crucial Senate race as soon as possible.

However, if you voted before today, your vote won't be counted tonight, a curious situation that may be rectified for future elections.

On the bright side, the ballot paper handed to you for the ACT Senate was not as long and cumbersome as that given to NSW voters.