Labor Candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin celebrates with her party on election night.
Labor Candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin celebrates with her party on election night. Aisling Brennan

LISMORE: Vote still 'too close to call' for clear winner

UPDATE 3.20pm: THE two remaining candidates in the running to win the seat of Lismore both believe the result is too close to call victory, as counting closes for the day. 

Country Labor candidate Janelle Saffin and Nationals candidate Austin Curtin are neck and neck as preferences start to be distributed, with 76.5 per cent of the vote counted. 

While Ms Saffin is ahead in the two candidate preferred vote, holding 53.94 per cent, Nationals candidate Austin Curtin is leading the count in first preference votes, with 40.03 per cent.

But neither candidate is admitting they feel confident. 

"We've still got Absentees, iVotes and postal votes to count," Ms Saffin said.

"It would be inappropriate to claim anything just yet."

Meanwhile, Mr Curtin said he remained hopeful postal votes will help edge him over the finishing line. 

"It's probably too close to call," he said.

"I'll just sit tight and wait for he results from the electoral commission One can only hope the postal vote goes their way."

UPDATE 10.45am: GREENS candidate for Lismore Sue Higginson has conceded the election, as counting continues this morning. 

Posting on social media on Sunday morning, Ms Higginson said she was proud to have run a "positive campaign". 

"Thank you so much to everyone who joined the awesome positive campaign to turn Lismore Green and all of the many wonderful folk who cast a vote for us," Ms Higginson said. 

"I have loved every single minute of working with you all in the politics of love, hope and change."

As the race tightens between Nationals candidate Austin Curtin and Country Labor candidate Janelle Saffin, Ms Higginson said she hoped to see the first female Lismore MP elected today. 

"We just missed out but it seems almost certain Janelle Saffin is up as the first femal and non-National to represent the Lismore electorate in the NSW Parliament," she said. 

"The Greens across NSW have done well. The fantastic Tamara Smith (Ballina) Jenny Leong (Newtown) and Jamie Parker (Balmain) have retained their seats so along with the great Upper House team and the fantastic supportive Greens NSW Party they will all continue to work for a future for all of us.

 

UPDATE SUNDAY 9.30am: VOTE counting has resumed in the hotly-contested state seat of Lismore.

With 72.3 per cent of the vote counted late last night, Labor's Janelle Saffin was narrowly in the lead with 53.9 per cent of the vote after preferences were allocated.

The National's Austin Curtin trailed slightly behind with 46.1 per cent.

Of the first preference votes, 39.5 per cent went to Austin Curtin, 25.7 per cent to Janelle Saffin and 24.7 per cent to Sue Higginson.

The ABC has predicted in favour of Labor.

UPDATE 11pm: LABOR Candidate Janelle has nudged in second ahead of Greens Candidate Sue Higginson holding 25.53 per cent of the primary votes.

Leading is Nationals candidate Austin Curtin with 39.40 per cent.

The two candidate preferred count has Janelle Saffin in favour on 54.04 per cent.

UPDATE 10.30pm: AS the voting continues, a clear result on who will win the seat of Lismore is "too close to call" for any candidate to claim victory.

The tight race between Nationals candidate Austin Curtin, Country Labor candidate Janelle Saffin and Greens candidate Sue Higginson seems to continue, with counting expected to potentially take days until a clear result is called.

Ms Saffin's supporters cheered as they watched ABC coverage show their candidate inch ahead of Mr Curtin in the two candidate preferred decision on Saturday night.

But Ms Saffin said it's "too close to call" for her to claim victory.

"I've run a comprehensive and a positive campaign and I think that showed in the result tonight, whatever happens tomorrow or over the next few days," Ms Saffin said.

"I just say thank you to everyone, I've got a great team behind me. Thank you to everyone who has backed me and given me their vote.

"I've been told it might be a few tense days as they count but it might happen in the morning, I don't know.
"It's a close call."

UPDATE 10pm: NATIONALS candidate Austin Curtin secured the most primary votes but it could come down to preferences.

The result following today's poll is the seat of Lismore is too close to call, ABC's Antony Green said.

UPDATE 9.15pm: AUSTIN Curtin continues to hold the votes for the seat of Lismore with more than 25,000 votes counted for the electorate.

Votes are still below 40 per cent and sit at 36.39 per cent.

Greens candidate Sue Higginson comes in second with 27.52 per cent, and Janelle Saffin close behind with 25.94 per cent.

UPDATE 8.25pm: JANELLE Saffin is catching up with Sue Higginson who is in second place with counted votes.

Saffin holds 25.58 per cent of the votes while Higginson is slightly ahead on 28 per cent.

Curtin remains under 40 per cent, currently holding 35.91 per cent.

More than 20,000 votes have been counted.

UPDATE 8.14pm: GREENS candidate for Lismore Sue Higginson is reserving her confidence in winning as the votes continue to be counted.

Ms Higginson is waiting alongside her supporters to see whether she'll win the seat of Lismore.

"I'm not at all confident, I'm just feeling absolutely exhilarated about being a a part of such a fantastic campaign powered by the community," Ms Higginson said.

"It was an absolute fantastic day, we had many bodies on the ground staffing booths. I think we were very well covered.

"But I think people had made up their mind before they went in."

Ms Higginson said she was proud of her campaign and it was now up to voters.

"I think people are feeling really pleased they've been a part of something so positive, something proactive and something so community powered," she said.

"We've all had a lot of conversations together. We've put a lot of issues on the pre-election agenda.

"I think a lot of people are feeling quiet and reserved watching the numbers come in."

NSW state election 2019.
NSW state election 2019.

UPDATE 7.35pm: TAKING an early lead, Nationals candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin is feeling "really positive" the work he's put in over the election will resonate with voters.

'We've done the hard yards, and what I'm really grateful for is all the people who've come out in support of the party and myself in over 30 degree temperatures volunteering," Mr Curtin said.

"The vibe is good, there's been a few cheers but I think everyone feels we've done the hard work and if we get the win that's great.

"We've been respectful to the voters by playing the long game."

While it's still early days as voting continues, Mr Curtin said he was pleased to see some early booths were favouring him.

"There's a lot of small booths getting counted but that might fluctuate," he said.

"It's feels really tight out there when I was on polling booths early on handing out.

"This will be a really close race, I'm not going to deny that. It's going to be one to watch over the evening and into the morning I suppose.

"We've always been under the eye and that's a good thing for Lismore and it's going to be good moving forward."

UPDATE 7.16pm: NATIONALS candidates Austin Curtin holds the vote just ahead of Greens' Sue Higginson.

Labor's Janelle Saffin trails behind on 20 per cent of the votes.

More than 3,600 votes have been counted.

UPDATE 6.35pm: GREENS candidate Sue Higginson is leading the count with 48 per cent of the votes in her favour.
So far there has been 182 votes counted.
She is followed by Country Labor's Janelle Saffin with just over 23 per cent and National's Austin Curtin with 15 per cent.

UPDATE 6.30pm: THE doors have officially closed on the NSW election, as the counting begins to see who will win government for the next four years.

As the scrutineers get ready for a long night of counting the votes, The Northern Star is bringing you live rolling coverage.

Outside Goonellabah Public School polling booth, Country Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin said she was happy with how election day played out.

"It's been a really good day, lots of people came through here," Ms Saffin said.

"There's been less (people) than normal, which we expect is because of prepoll but it's been a very positive day and a lot of nice support.

"There's been a lot of collegiate atmosphere her among all of the people giving out how to votes from the different parties."

Heading to join her supporters to await the result, Ms Saffin said she was feeling "very calm".

"I'm feeling satisfied that I ran a comprehensive campaign with great policies and I'm now in the hands of the voters and as always except the verdict,' she said.

"I've had a great team. If I become the member I'll hit the ground running and straight to work."

ORIGINAL: IT'S almost time for the polling booths to close and for people to return to their warm homes and await the outcome of the 2019 NSW State election.

With two of the most marginal seats in the state, all eyes will be on the Northern Rivers.

In Lismore, it's a genuine three-way tussle, with former federal member for Page Janelle Saffin the short-priced favourite with the bookies, ahead of Sue Higginson of the Greens and Austin Curtin of the Nationals, who is seeking election following the retirement of sitting member Thomas George.

Stay with us here on The Northern Star website, where we'll have up-to-date results from both the Lismore and Ballina electorates, as well as all the action from the candidates' victory (or defeat) parties. We'll also post updates regularly on our Facebook page.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the election - tweet us, comment on our Facebook threads or email us at news@northernstar.com.au.