Final sprint to the ballot box at Bayside and Georges River

There was a low turnout of voters at polling booths at Carlton, Kogarah and Rockdale this morning but a last minute rush of voters is expected following the crash of the NSW Electoral Commission's electronic iVote system just after voting opened.

Voters turned out early in Hurstville with a long queue outside the polling booth at the Senior Citizen's Centre in Queens Road.

But the polling booths Carlton Public School, Kogarah High and Rockdale Town Hall were still quiet by mid-morning.

With social distancing requirements meaning candidates were unable to hand out election material within 100-metres polling places, voters did not have to run the gauntlet of hopeful candidates thrusting how to vote material at them in the final sprint to the ballot box.

And there was scant evidence of the democracy sausage at polling booths with barbecues also put on the back burner due to COVID.

The NSW Electoral Commission's electronic iVote system crashed just over an hour after the polling booths opened.

iVote, the Commission's technology-assisted online and telephone voting platform, is being utilised at a Local Government election for the first time in 2021.

The local government elections are seen as a test-run for the iVote system head of next year's federal election.

But the demand was greater than expected. A report had it that the Electoral Commission was expected about 200,000 to use the electronic voting system but figures had reached more than 500,000 before the crash.

The high demand could be due to people being cautious with COVID social distancing.

All polling places are being operated in line with COVID-safe election guidelines including masks, physical distancing, single-use pens, queue management and voting screen inserts.

Signage and staff were directing voters to check-in using the ServiceNSW app and comply with NSW Health advice.

More than 1,045,000 people had already cast their vote before the polling booths opened this morning, making arrangements to vote by post or online.

The NSW Electoral Commission has received 290,827 applications for postal votes, 215,757 applications to use iVote and more than 538,485 people have already voted in-person.

Voting at the Local Government elections is compulsory. People must vote by 6pm, Saturday, 4 December or penalties may apply.

Results will be published as they become available on the NSW Electoral Commission's website.

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