WHILE the outcome has been known for days, the result of the New England by-election was officially declared by the Australian Electorate Commission in Armidale on Wednesday.
Nationals candidate and former MP Barnaby Joyce was declared the winner, after taking home 56,055 votes or 65.09 per cent of the primary.
Mr Joyce recorded a 12.80 per cent swing towards the Nationals, one of the largest swings in by-election history.
Mr Joyce holds at 74 per cent majority in the two party preferred category, over Labor’s 26 per cent.
Labor candidate David Ewings ran in second with 11.1 per cent, a swing of 4.09 per cent. It’s the highest the party has placed in the seat more than a decade.
Independent Rob Taber finished third with 6.75 per cent of the primary, an improvement of 3.95 per cent from his 2016 result. However, it’s a far cry from the 13.8 per cent he pulled in 2013.
The Greens’ candidate Peter Wills only received 4.28 per cent of the vote, but it’s a big improvement from the party’s 2016 result of 2.9 per cent, and the party’s second best result in the electorate.
CountryMinded’s Peter Mailler 2.42 per cent, a step up from the party's 2016 result of 1.4 per cent.
Richard Stretton of the Christian Democrates won 2.41 per cent of the vote, while more than 1150 people (1.34 per cent) voted for Science Party candidate Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow.
While many anticipated his unique name would attract some voters, Mr Meow impressed many with his ideas, knowledge and policies.
The AEC said there were still more than 4500 votes to be received and counted, but they would not affect the result of the election.
As predicted by the AEC, the large field of candidates led to an increased number of informal votes, with more than 8500 people (8.84 per cent) failing to fill out their ballot correctly.
In 2016 election, when there were 10 candidates, the rate of informal ballots was 7.04 per cent, compared to a national average of 5.05 per cent.
A total of 94,466 people voted, or 85.27 per cent of the electorate.
Mr Joyce, Mr Ewings, Mr Taber and Mr Wills are the only candidates that received the required 4 per cent of the primary vote to be eligible for election funding from the AEC.
Each will get $2.62 for every vote they received.
The ballot was rounded out by independent Jeff Madden, Skyla Wagstaff (Animal Justice Party), William Bourke (Sustainable Australia Party), Andrew Potts (Affordable Housing Party), independent Dean Carter, Tristam Smyth (Liveral Democrats), Ian Britza (Australian Country Party), Donald Cranney (Rise Up Australia Party), Warick Stacey (Seniors United Party) and Jamie McIntyre (21st Century Australia).