The state election might still be 12 days away, but that didn't stop some eager Wollongong voters casting their ballots early on Monday - the first day of pre-polling.
A handful of early-voting centres opened across the region's five state electorates - Heathcote, Keira, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama - at 8am, with a steady stream of people taking advantage of the chance to tick voting off their to-do lists throughout the day.
They were among the 30 per cent of voters across the state who are expected to put pencil to ballot paper ahead of election day on March 23.
There are 25 candidates contesting the election across the Illawarra's five seats. Wollongong has the biggest field of contenders with seven, followed Heathcote and Kiama (five each).
Read more: Where you can vote early in the Illawarra
On Monday, how-to-vote distributors turned a few heads as they occupied a section of busy footpath on Wollongong's Crown Street.
Election signage depicting candidates' faces also lined the front of the Wollongong Election Manager's Office at number 273, which is open for pre-poll voting until 6pm on March 22.
Day one of pre-poll also revealed the nature of preferencing between political parties and contenders.
In Wollongong and Keira, respective incumbents Paul Scully and Ryan Park (both Labor) have suggested voters only put '1' next to their names and not distribute preferences.
The Liberals' Wollongong candidate Zach Fitzpatrick urged voters to only vote for him.
The Greens have suggested voters put the Liberal candidates last in Keira, Wollongong and Shellharbour.
Although, in Kiama the Greens' how-to-vote shows it preferencing Labor's Andy Higgins, a coal miner, second. The party's preferences don't extend any further.
Eligible voters can vote in person at an early-voting centre, apply to use iVote (internet and telephone voting) or apply for a postal vote.
People are eligible to vote early for a number of reasons, including if they will be outside NSW on election day or will be working on March 23.
Postal vote applications can be made online - at elections.nsw.gov.au - until 6pm on March 18.
iVote applications, via the same website, close at 1pm on March 23.
Some 1.5 million people in NSW are expected to vote before election day.
Australian Political Studies Association vice president Rodney Smith expected early voting would increase to more than 30 per cent - up from 25.1 per cent at the 2015 election.
"Most of the increase will be in early in-person voting, with a small increase also likely in the iVote," Professor Smith said.
"The main causes in NSW as elsewhere are socio-economic changes which make Saturday voting at a local polling place less convenient than it once was."