NSW COUNCIL ELECTIONS

Voters turn out for council election day in Cessnock

Ward A candidates and supporters at the Cessnock West Public School booth on Saturday
Ward A candidates and supporters at the Cessnock West Public School booth on Saturday

9PM SATURDAY

From the Newcastle Herald:

Jay Suvaal's lead in the Cessnock mayoral race looks convincing so far.

The Labor candidate has more than 41 per cent of the counted vote in the four-way race, ahead of independent Ian Olsen (25.6 per cent).

Liberal John Moores has 19.7 per cent of the counted vote, with Greens challenger Janet Murray on 13.3 per cent.

Whoever wins, the city will have a new mayor after incumbent Bob Pynsent decided against running again.

Stay up-to-date as the results come in via ACM's live blog here.

6PM SATURDAY

The polls have closed, and counting is under way. Stay up-to-date as the results come in throughout the evening with ACM's live blog here.

ELECTION DAY: The Cessnock West Public School polling booth around 11am Saturday.

ELECTION DAY: The Cessnock West Public School polling booth around 11am Saturday.

1PM SATURDAY

The countdown is on to finding out who Cessnock's new mayor and councillors will be, with five hours until the polling booths close.

About 10,000 constituents - or almost a quarter of Cessnock's eligible voting population - voted prior to Saturday, with prepoll voting open to everyone this year in order to reduce election day crowds, and iVote and postal voting also available.

Four candidates are in the running to become the new mayor of Cessnock, following the retirement of the city's longest-serving mayor, Bob Pynsent.

Greens candidate Janet Murray is on the booths at Kurri Kurri Public School.

Ms Murray, who ran for council in 2016 and has also contested state and federal elections, said the day got off to a slow start, but a constant stream of voters were coming in by around 11am.

"I've been pleased at the number of people coming out and giving me the 'thumbs up'," she said.

"After two weeks on prepoll together, the candidates for D Ward are all working well together, but will be glad when today is over."

Labor's mayoral candidate Jay Suvaal was at the Cessnock West Public School booth this morning, and thanked everyone for coming out to vote.

"It's great to see so many people wanting positive change for our community," he said.

Independent mayoral candidate Ian Olsen, who is running for his sixth term as a Ward B councillor, said it was a different vibe compared to previous elections.

"Not handing out how to votes, the majority of people say hi and walk on in. It's very quiet compared to previous elections, with many people pre-polling or using iVote," he said.

Cr Olsen had visited many booths in Ward B and will head around to others after lunch.

"I always enjoy meeting people and having a chat and listening to their concerns," he said.

Liberal mayoral candidate John Moores was at the Cessnock Public School booth, and said there was a great turnout.

"I've been campaigning now for 172 hours on pre-poll, and 12 hours here today," he said.

"I'd like to thank the town and I'd like to also thank my team for the great support that they have given me."

A total of 49 candidates across four wards are vying for 12 councillors' seats, with Labor, Liberal, Greens and Independent teams in all wards, and one ungrouped independent candidate in Ward A.

Along with a new mayor, the incoming council will include at least six new councillors.

At least one new councillor will be voted into Ward A with Labor's Mark Lyons not recontesting his seat. The Liberals' Paul Dunn is running for his second term, while independent councillor Allan Stapleford will seek his third. The ward has comprised one Labor, one Liberal and one independent councillor since 2008.

At least two new councillors will be elected to serve Ward B, with Labor's Di Fitzgibbon retiring and Jay Suvaal running in Ward A instead. Independent councillor Ian Olsen, who has served Ward B for more than 20 years, is running again.

Ward C voters have the chance to elect at least two new councillors, with Melanie Dagg's position vacant following her resignation in March, and John Fagg running from the likely-unwinnable third place on the Liberals' ticket. Labor's Anne Sander, who was elected in 2016, is running again.

It's a clean slate in Ward D, with Darrin Gray (Labor) and Rod Doherty (Liberal) not running again, and Anthony Burke (Labor) seeking a switch to Ward D.

READ MORE:

Cessnock's polling booths are located at:

  • Abermain Plaza Hall (Ward C)
  • Bellbird Public School (Ward A)
  • Branxton Community Hall (Ward C)
  • Cessnock East Public School (Wards A, B and C)
  • Cessnock Public School (Wards A, B, C and D)
  • Cessnock West Public School (Wards A and B)
  • Ellalong Public School (Ward A)
  • Greta Arts & Sports Community Hall (Ward C)
  • Kearsley Public School (Wards A, B and C)
  • Kitchener Public School (Ward A)
  • Kurri Kurri High School (Ward D
  • Kurri Kurri Public School (Wards C and D)
  • Millfield Public School (Ward A)
  • Mount View High School (Wards A and B)
  • Mulbring Public School (Wards A and D)
  • North Cessnock Community Hall (Ward B)
  • Nulkaba Public School (Wards B and C)
  • Pelaw Main Public School (Ward D)
  • Pokolbin Rural Bushfire Brigade (Ward A)
  • Stanford Merthyr Infants School (Ward D)
  • Weston Civic Centre (Wards C and D)
  • Wollombi Public School (Ward A)

The Electoral Commission says it will run Saturday's vote in line with its COVID-safe guidelines, including masks, QR check-ins, distancing, single-use pens, queue management and voting screen inserts.

Unvaccinated people can vote in person at polling booths on Saturday.

Voting is compulsory, and booths close at 6pm.

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