THE RACE IS ON: Early voting has opened for the state seat of Coffs Harbour.
THE RACE IS ON: Early voting has opened for the state seat of Coffs Harbour. Janine Watson

Preferences not a done deal as voting opens

EARLY voting is now open for the March 23 state election.

There was a steady flow of voters through the booth at the Norm Jordan Pavilion at the Coffs Harbour Showground on Monday.

Preferences are tipped to play an important role in the outcome of the election with long-standing Nationals Member Andrew Fraser retiring and state-wide polling showing the Coalition could be in trouble.

A Coffs Coast Advocate online poll has tipped it could be a close call between Nationals candidate Gurmesh Singh and independent Sally Townley.

Currently the how to vote flyers for Country Labor candidate Tony Judge do not indicate a preference for any other candidates.

"But I'm hoping it won't stay that way. I would like to preference Sally Townley because between us we have the best chance of ending The Nationals' reign here and delivering the change that Coffs Harbour really needs."

Independent candidate Sally Townley said she is considering her options, but for now is urging voters to place her first and then make up their own minds who to preference after that.

Nationals candidate Gurmesh Singh was also there this morning handing out how to vote material with a clear message to vote 1 for his party to hold the seat of Coffs Harbour.

Jonathan Cassell from The Greens has placed Sally Townley second and Tony Judge third on his how to vote flyers.

Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate Stuart Davidson has placed the relatively unknown Liberal Democrat candidate Gregory Renet second, Mr Judge third and Mr Singh fourth.

Independent candidate Ann Leonard has not indicated any preferences.

Candidate Gregory Renet from the Liberal Democrats and Robyn Marchant from the Animal Justice Party were not at the booth on Monday.

Early voting will continue from Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and on Saturday from 9am to 5pm.