New information in Wellington's mayoral vote recount saga shows Justin Lester doesn't have the numbers he was counting on.
Final election results put Mayor Andy Foster just 62 votes ahead of Lester to claim the city's top job.
Lester's formal application filed in Wellington District Court for a recount pointed to 302 partially informal votes which were excluded because voters filled out the form incorrectly.
The application said 193 of them would have swung in Lester's favour and just 109 in Foster's, changing the outcome of the mayoralty.
But according to new information, 145 of those 193 votes would actually have already gone to Foster because he had a valid preference before the sequence break.
Under the single transferable vote system (STV) candidates are ordered by preference but the rankings must follow an unbroken sequence.
For example, if a voter ranked candidates with numbers 1, 2 and 4, having left out a number 3, then votes would only be valid for 1 and 2. After that, the electoral officer would not be able to determine preferences.
So, put simply, the net result would be a 12-vote gain for Lester, if the partial votes were able to be counted. That's not enough to overturn the election.
Electionz.com said it followed the Local Electoral Act and the local electoral regulations which govern these elections.
"The legislation specifically does not allow partially informal votes (preferences received after a sequence break) to be included, so these numbers are purely academic."
Lester is sticking to his guns, saying he has received conflicting information throughout the process.
He said a manual recount was necessary to make sure all votes were counted correctly in the context of such a narrow margin.
"Regardless of the outcome, a manual recount is the only way to give Wellington voters confidence in the result."
Lester's legal counsel Graeme Edgeler backed this up at the time the recount application was filed.
"How do you know that the computers got it right? The one way you do is someone has to look to check the computers were right."
Yesterday Foster said the more than 100-page-long report filed by the Chief Electoral Officer to the court confirmed the election process was robust.
"We just can't see any legs on this at all."
A decision on whether a recount will be granted is expected by the end of tomorrow.