POLITICAL wheeling and dealing could again determine the final shape of Griffith's council, with the mayoral chains and a host of councillor positions at the mercy of preferences.
While John Dal Broi held a 4 per cent lead at last count in the mayoral vote, Mike Neville and Bill Lancaster are genuine hopes of eclipsing him after preferences are allocated.
Up to five councillor positions could also be determined by preferences.
Former councillor Tom Marriott said the mayoral result would come down to how faithfully supporters of Mr Neville and Mr Lancaster followed how-to-vote cards.
"It's impossible to say at this stage how preferences will fall and it all hinges on whether people blindly followed how-to-vote cards or actually thought for themselves," Mr Marriott said.
"If they followed the cards, then either Mike (Neville) or Bill (Lancaster) could still win.
"It's interesting because both John (Dal Broi) and Mike (Neville) are both polarising figures you either like them or you don't.
"That means a lot of people might have selected them on top or not preferenced them at all.
"So I wouldn't write Bill off as a chance. He's got a reputation as a very good solicitor and citizen and a lot of people may well have given him their number two."
The distribution of preferences will begin tomorrow and is expected to be finalised by Wednesday.
Under the preferential system, candidates who exceed the minimum votes required to be elected about 1100 in Griffith have excess votes passed on to other candidates.
Additionally, candidates who do not reach the quota and are eliminated have their votes passed on, at a value of half a vote.
This allows those who have done strong preference deals to be elected even if they attracted a poor primary vote.
Mr Marriott said the confusion surrounding preferences made the system appear undemocratic.
"Preferences give you the opportunity to say who you want in and if they don't get in, who else you would like," he said.
"But the trouble is, there's been so many dodgy deals done between political parties at federal and state elections it's ruined the spirit of preferences."
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