Australia

Voting underway in tight NSW state election

0:00

Polling day has arrived for NSW and the choice, for many voters, could hinge on infrastructure, stadiums and guns.

Gladys Berejiklian concedes the race to victory in the NSW election will be tight, as she seeks to become the state's first ever popularly-elected female premier.

Voting opened at more than 2200 polling booths across the state at 8am on Saturday, with more than four million people expected to cast their vote.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian casts her vote at Willoughby Public School on 2019 New South Wales election day in Sydney, Saturday, 23 March 2019. New South Wales voters head to the polls in the state election today. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian casts her vote at Willoughby Public School on 2019 New South Wales election day in Sydney, Saturday, 23 March 2019.
AAP

More than 1.3 million have already made their decision and voted early, in what's tipped to be one of the closest elections in decades.

A special Newspoll, published in The Weekend Australian, suggested the coalition is ahead of Labor 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis.

0:00
NSW heads to the polls in an election dominated by stadiums and stumbles
NSW heads to the polls in an election dominated by stadiums and stumbles

The Liberal-Nationals hold 52 seats in the lower house. Gladys Berejiklian will need to only lose six seats to relinquish her majority.

Labor will need to pick up 13 seats to clinch an outright majority in the 93-seat chamber.

Ms Berejiklian, who cast her vote at Willoughby Public School just before 9am, suggested a minority government wouldn't be a good result for NSW.

"It is going to be a tight race but it is up to the people of NSW to decide," she told reporters outside the school.

"I hope they will decide to allow my government to continue to take NSW forward and provide a strong budget, a strong economy and not allow us to go backwards."

Labor leader Michael Daley started his day with a meat pie and strawberry milk at a Matraville pie shop - a tradition since he ran for local council in 1995.

NSW elections
NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley meets with members of the Health Services Union (HSU) during a stop at the Nepean Hospital, Friday 22nd March.
AAP

He said he and his team have been campaigning hard and have listened to people in every corner of the state.

"That is the difference between chaotic government," Mr Daley told Seven's Sunrise before casting his vote at Chifley Public School.

"We like and listen to people. We will put people first."

Polling booths close at 6pm on Saturday. Online and telephone voting also closes at 6pm, however people need to register by 1pm.

Constituents are seen casting votes at St. John's Church Polling Booth in Darlinghurst, Sydney, Saturday, 23 March 2019. New South Wales voters head to the polls in the state election today. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING
Constituents are seen casting votes at St. John's Church Polling Booth in Darlinghurst, Sydney, Saturday, 23 March 201.
AAP

Some NSW voters have had trouble casting their ballot as issues plaguing the state's electronic voting system ran into election day.

Technical issues began on Friday night but continued Saturday morning as thousands flooded iVote to register and cast their ballot.

Frustrated voters then turned to the telephone registration system, which itself was then overloaded, with some told to call back later.

One voter living in the United Kingdom said she registered last week but had to call the NSW Electoral Commission 42 times on Saturday in an effort to get her iVote number.

Michael Daley and Gladys Berejiklian.
Michael Daley and Gladys Berejiklian on NSW election morning.
AAP

"It was a very, very painful process," Vanessa told AAP.

"Once I was logged in, it was a relatively easy way to vote."

Chrissy Symeonakis said she'd phoned multiple times on Friday night and Saturday morning before finally getting through about 10am.

"I have multiple sclerosis, so getting to a polling booth isn't easy for me at the moment as I'm currently undergoing new treatments," she said, adding she registered for iVote in February.

The server problems for the online system appeared to be fixed about 10am.

Volunteers are seen handing out how to vote cards at Willoughby Public School on 2019 New South Wales election day.
Volunteers are seen handing out how to vote cards at Willoughby Public School on 2019 New South Wales election day.
AAP

The NSWEC said while there had been issues with the registration system, no voting had been impacted.

"The problem relating to online registrations has resulted in increased call volumes to our call centre," Commissioner John Schmidt said in a statement on Friday night.

Applications for iVote close 1pm but votes can be cast until 6pm.

More than 207,000 votes had been submitted using iVote by Saturday morning.

The system, which received more than 280,000 votes in the 2015 election, has been used since 2011.

About one million voted in person at pre-poll centres, with more than 82,700 received via post and a further 13,700 at mobile centres in nursing homes, aged care facilities and hospitals.

0:00
Scott Morrison heads to cast his vote
Scott Morrison heads to cast his vote

 

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch