Restrictions around how-to-vote cards have made the Eurobodalla Shire Council election impossible to predict, according to mayoral candidate Karyn Starmer.
A decision by the NSW Electoral Commission to prohibit the traditional distribution of how-to-vote cards at or within 100m of polling sites has hampered candidates' ability to convince voters on decision day.
A mayoral candidate for The Mayne Team, Ms Starmer said the decision had made predicting a result extremely difficult.
"No one is actually feeling confident at this point because there are so many people turning up and not knowing who to vote for," she told the Bay Post.
"People who have done a lot of elections will tell you that you usually get a feel for it. You watch people as they take their how-to-vote cards but no one can gauge it."
Ms Starmer said while it suited Sydney polling stations, rural localities on the South Coast weren't suitable for the new distribution laws.
"That works for a place like Sydney where you park 200 meters away but in a regional setting everyone parks at the front gate," she explained.
"In Narooma, it'd be the other side of the highway you'd be handing them out. It's basically made how-to-vote null and void for this election.
"Multiple groups made submissions to the NSW electoral commission to at least be able to leave them out for people to take but no. It's an issue they'll need to address moving forward I think.
"Particularly with the older generation, they are asking 'what do we do' and we say 'you can take a photograph' [of the how-to-vote card] but a lot don't have a phone with them so it's been quite an issue."
Greens mayoral candidate Alison Worthington had a different read on the situation, saying she thought voters were turning up pre-informed, despite the unusually cold weather.
"We're not used to having elections in December so everyone was worried it would be too hot but we ended up with a winter election anyway," she said.
"I think voter turnout has been good. We're a diverse shire, spread out over a range of towns and villages, each with their own character and that's definitely showing up at the polling booths.
"There's also evidence that a lot of people have done their research and turned up knowing who they're voting for."
Both candidates agreed however that despite not knowing who would emerge victorious, when that happened could be as early as Saturday night.
"I think we'll have a pretty clear indication who's punching ahead in the mayoral race this evening, we might even have a winner," Ms Worthington said.
"We may expect to know the mayoral vote early to mid next week if there's no one clear tonight," Ms Starmer added.