HALF of Tamworth's candidates have elected not to distribute any preference votes for the upcoming NSW election.
In state elections, voters must number at least one box, and then have the option to number as many other boxes as they like, or none at all.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, independent Mark Rodda and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers' Jeff Bacon have all directed supporters to only put a one next to their name.
Cr Rodda said it was always his intention not preference anyone, to reflect his status as a "truly independent" candidate.
"I want to say loud and clear that I've done no deal with any party, and you can see evidence of that of my how-to-vote card, which lists no preferences," he said.
"It's an out of date practice, and frankly, it's arrogant that a party would direct voters as to how they should vote.
"That's not in the spirit of democracy or freedom of choice."
At the Tamworth candidates forum, Mr Bacon stated he would be preferencing Cr Rodda as number two on his how-to-vote card.
However, he's since retracted the statement, stating the two have differing views on a number of key issues, such as support for the racing industry and water security.
Country Labor and the Greens both preferenced Cr Rodda second, and each other third. Labor candidate Stephen Mears said the independent's strong stance against privatisation was a big reason the Tamworth Labor branch chose to give him their preference.
"Mark's very passionate about public services remaining in place with no privatisation," Mr Mears said.
Greens' candidate Robin Gunning said her party was extremely impressed with Cr Rodda's performance on Tamworth council.
"He's a good bloke who could do a lot for Tamworth, and he's got the best chance of winning," she said.
The Leader could not contact Animal Justice Party's Emma Hall, who has been unable to campaign or attend candidate forums due to health issues.
Thousands of people have already cast an early vote.
The NSW Electoral Commission predicts about a third of the electorate will visit the pre-polling booths before the March 23.
The Tamworth booth is expecting up to 12,000 early voters, while Gunnedah's predicted to get more than 4000.