It's been a five-year wait, but NSW is finally set to go to the polls to elect new local government representatives.
Election workers are busy preparing thousands of ballots - and processing pre-poll votes - in advance of the Saturday election.
At least this year they won't need to sharpen any pencils.
Every vote cast in person at the 2022 Local Government elections, for the first time, will be cast in pen, a measure adopted in the name of coronavirus safety.
The electoral commission purchased a reported 40,000 single-use pens for the Tamworth Regional Council election alone, to cater to about 44,500 electors. The commission also encourages voters to bring their own. Pens will not be reused.
There will also be no how-to-vote cards handed out by candidates or supporters at polling booths, due to strict rules imposed due to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis twice forced the delay of last year's scheduled elections to December 4, 2021.
The polls for 125 of the state's councils were meant to take place in September, 2020 but were put off until 2021 in the early days of the pandemic.
The August outbreak of the Delta strain forced them to be pushed back again to December 4, 2021.
Councillors will have served for over five years by close of polls on Saturday.
Where to vote:
Tamworth voters have a choice of 25 polling locations to cast their ballot.
Twelve polling locations are in the city of Tamworth, plus 13 more booths in smaller communities outside the city, including in Barraba, Manilla, Somerton, Bendemeer, Nundle, Moore Creek and more.
- Barraba Bicentennial Centre, Bridge Street, Barraba
- Manilla Town Hall, Manilla Street, Manilla
- Somerton Public School, Milkmaid Street, Somerton
- Attunga Public School, Attunga Street, Attunga
- Bendemeer Public School, 17-27 Charles Street, Bendemeer
- Moore Creek Fire Shed, 1019 Upper Moore Creek Road, Moore Creek
- Woolbrook Public School, Church Street, Woolbrook
- Oxley Vale Public School, Manilla Road, Oxley Vale
- Kootingal Public School, Denman Avenue, Kootingal
- Dungowan Community Hall, Ogunbil Road, Dungowan
- Nundle Public School, 93-95 Jenkins Street, Nundle
- Timbumburi Public School, Kia Ora Road, Timbumburi
- Duri Public Hall, Phillip Street, Duri
- Mccarthy Catholic College Tamworth, Tribe Street, Tamworth
- Westdale Public School, Marathon Street, Westdale
- Tamworth Community Centre, Darling Street, Tamworth
- Tamworth Public School, Napier Street, Tamwort
- Tamworth West Public School, Denne Street, West Tamwort
- Peel High School Multi-Purpose Centre, 88 Gunnedah Road, West Tamworth
- Tamworth High School, Jean Street, Tamworth
- Coledale Community Centre, 2B Kenny Drive, West Tamworth
- Mary Help Of Christians Hall, 78-94 Hillvue Road, South Tamworth
- Tamworth Southside Uniting Church Hall, 426-440 Goonoo Goonoo Road, Hillvue
- Carinya Christian School, Boronia Drive, Calala
- Nemingha Public School, 145 Nundle Road, Nemingha
When to vote:
Ballots open at 8am and close at 6pm on Saturday December 4.
How to vote:
You must vote for at least five candidates for your vote to be counted under the state's optional preferential voting system. You can mark as many numbers as you like.
Voters will not have a choice of mayor. The nine candidates elected as councillors will meet in January to decide who will sit as mayor and deputy mayor of Tamworth. Mayor Col Murray will retire on December 4 after 11 years in the job.
Who to vote for:
You'll have 19 names to choose from including candidates from within Tamworth and from around the region.
The Leader has put together a list of candidates and what they stand for here.
What if I can't get there?
For voters cut off by flood waters or who haven't received their postal ballot as a result of natural disasters, the electoral commission recommends two options.
Voting remains compulsory, even in a flood.
A spokesperson for the NSW Electoral Commission said that there were a number of alternative voting options for people in tough circumstances.
Residents can access internet voting via iVote, or vote over the phone under three circumstances.
If they've applied for a postal vote that they didn't receive before 5pm on November 26, even if it has since arrived.
They can also do so if they would be forced to travel more than 20 kilometres by road closures, flooding, or some other transport issue in order to vote in person on election day.
Or if they will be outside their council area between 8 am and 6 pm on election day.
As a last resort, people who can't cast a vote due to the floods may also be able to evade a $55 fine.
"The reasons given for not voting will be assessed on a case-by-case basis," the spokesperson said.
Should I bring anything?
The NSW Electoral Commission encourages voters to bring their own pen.
Voters should also bring their mask and their smart phone.
It is mandatory for voters to check in and check out of election venues using the ServiceNSW COVID Safe Check-in QR code. Voters must wear a mask while inside the election venue - and while lining up, even if that's outside.
If you don't have a smart phone, you can check in manually.
Can I vote in a different local government area?
Absentee voting isn't permitted for the 2021 local government elections.
Do I still need to vote if I'm not vaccinated? Can I vote if I have coronavirus?
Yes, but you can't necessarily vote in person.
Unvaccinated people are still required to vote in the local government elections.
If you're under a public health order not to leave your house because you're infected with coronavirus or are a close contact of someone infected with the virus, do not go to the polls in person.
Voters across the state are encouraged to vote via postal, online and operator-assisted voting or at a pre-poll office.
Residents can access internet voting via iVote, or vote over the phone if eligible.
Every worker employed during the election is required to be fully vaccinated.
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