Election upset possible in Hammond, MacKillop as forum approaches | POLL

An upset remains a slight possibility for SA Best in the Murraylands based on party preference deals made public yesterday.

Liberal and Labor could have snuffed out the threat from Nick Xenophon's party by putting SA Best last on their how-to-vote cards, published by the Electoral Commission of South Australia.

But old habits die hard – each will preference SA Best ahead of their traditional rivals in both Hammond and MacKillop.

As a result, when votes are counted on the evening of March 17, SA Best could potentially draw close to the Liberal Party if Labor falls behind.

However, Labor is unlikely to benefit if SA Best falls short – the new party will run an "open" ticket in both seats, and will not direct their voters one way or another.

Neither of the two minor-party candidates in Hammond, and none of the three in MacKillop, will preference SA Best ahead of the Liberals or Labor.

Despite the perceived power of how-to-vote cards, voters are of course free to order the numbers on their ballots however they like.

Hammond election forum

Meanwhile, if you want to meet the people who would represent Hammond in South Australia's next parliament, tonight is your chance.

Liberal MP Adrian Pederick will face his challengers from SA Best, Kelly Gladigau, and Labor, Mat O'Brien, at Murray Bridge RSL at seven o'clock.

The other two candidates for Hammond, the Conservatives' Declan Paton and Greens' Simon Hope, declined invitations to attend.

The Murray Valley Standard's senior journalist, Peri Strathearn, will moderate a two-hour discussion which will include time for both pre-submitted questions and spontaneous questions from the floor.

Entry is free, the bar will be open and a light supper will be available.

Video debate

On Wednesday night, The Murray Valley Standard will host the second half of a video debate moderated by Mr Strathearn recently.

Visit www.murrayvalleystandard.com.au at 7.30pm tomorrow to watch the five largest parties spruik their policies on issues such as power pricing, rural roads, royalties for regions and more.

Premier Jay Weatherill and Opposition Leader Steven Marshall will go toe to toe in the same timeslot next week.

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