A nationwide spike in early voting left many Illawarra polling booths with just a trickle of voters throughout election day.
When early voting closed at 6pm last night, the Australian Electoral Commission said it had received a record number of pre-poll and postal votes across Australia
The three Illawarra seats - Cunningham, Throsby and Gilmore - were no exception.
In Gilmore, nearly 30 per cent, or 27,900 of the seats 100,273 eligible voters cast their votes early, while in Cunningham more than 5000 people visited the Wollongong pre-poll centre in just the past two days.
In Throsby, 24 per cent of the electorate had already voted at booths in Dapto, Warilla, Bowral and Wollongong by the time election day polls opened at 8am today.
The effect of these high numbers were evident at Dapto Ribbonwood Centre in the Throsby electorate, where party supporters said voters had come through in more of a trickle than a stream.
Representatives handing out for the Christian Democrats, the Greens and the Nationals at the Dapto booth all believed voter numbers were down on previous years.
‘‘Apart from it being a bit busy at 8am it’s been so quiet here,’’ Nationals supporter Stuart Low said.
‘‘People are coming in in dribs and drabs.’’
Mr Low said by comparison, pre-poll booths had been flat out.
‘‘I worked at the Dapto pre-poll booth and they were getting about 300 or so in the first few days, but by the end the numbers were up around a thousand a day,’’ he said.
‘‘One day they almost ran out of ballot papers so many people came in.’’
Greens campaigner Sylvia Daviero said the mood among voters was also different than in previous years.
‘‘They’re despondent,’’ she said.
‘‘I think it’s because the campaign has been going on for a while and people don’t want to hear about it anymore, they just want to get in, vote, and get out.’’
Postal votes were also high this year, according to the AEC, with 21,231 postal ballot papers already processed from the three Illawarra seats.