Kiama council candidate Mark Way believes he knows why the informal vote at Saturday's Kiama council election jumped to 13 per cent from just 5 per cent in 2008.
Standing as the only ungrouped candidate at Saturday's election, Mr Way had faced the challenge of explaining to people they not only had to vote for him below the line, but also at least four other candidates on rival tickets below the line too.
There has been anecdotal evidence, backed by scrutineers of other groups involved in the election, that of the 1700 informal votes cast, about 30 per cent had a "1" next to the name of Mark Way below the line.
As checking of the ballot papers in readiness for the distribution of preferences continued yesterday, Mr Way retained a good chance of being elected to the new council.
However, a few hundred extra votes would have made him a certainty by now.
Mr Way has lodged a complaint with the NSW Electoral Commission, saying the wording on the ballot paper, such as "If you vote for less than five candidates your vote will not be counted as a valid vote" was not strong enough to explain the voting system.
"Nowhere on the ballot paper were the words 'must', 'mandatory' or 'compulsory'," Mr Way said.
He said the informal votes with a "1" next to his name gave a clear indication they wanted him elected.
"It will be disappointing for me, but also disappointing for others if I don't make it.
"The groups were set up to play the game as it were - most of the people on the ballot paper didn't want to get on council anyway.
"They stood to feed the leader so to speak - in most cases they would have had a fit if they got elected."
Councillor Brian Petschler, who is tipped to be Kiama's next mayor, said there were issues with the voting system and agreed it should be simplified.
"It should be one vote for one person ... if we had this system we wouldn't have had as many people in the groups," Cr Petschler said.
Meantime, veteran Kiama councillor Warren Steel says he will "probably" back Cr Petschler's bid to be Kiama's next mayor, but has kept the door open for a tilt at the top job at some stage during the four-year term.
Cr Petschler and Cr Steel could be the only two councillors to remain from the previous council, with Neil Reilly struggling to retain his seat.
"I would like a crack at [mayor] somewhere along the line," Cr Steel said.
"At this stage I would support Brian, I wouldn't support anyone else ... but if I support Brian I would very much like to be the deputy mayor."
Cr Steel agreed the voting system used at Kiama council elections should be changed, but said the high number of informal votes was because many people were uninformed, not necessarily because people wanted to vote for Mark Way.