10.10pm: That’s a wrap for tonight folks. Here’s how the votes stand as we finish our coverage tonight.
Above the line
820 Country Labor
742 Group B (Margaret O’Connor Team)
572 The Greens
332 Group A (New England Futures Group)
Below the line
739 Simon Murray
660 Ian Tiley
589 Jon Galletly
285 Libby Martin
279 David Levingston (Group A)
251 Bradley Widders
195 Kevin Dupe
180 Diane Gray
173 Peter Bailey
171 Andrew Murat
149 Jim Maher
126 Aileen MacDonald
122 Michelle Wheatley
111 Les Davis
110 Gordon Cope
106 Maria Hitchcock
106 Debra O’Brien (Country Labor)
88 Dorothy Robinson (The Greens)
79 Jack Hobbs
77 Joshua Fittler
74 Margaret O’Connor (Group B)
69 Colin Gadd
60 Jack Rapley
57 Herman Beyersdorf
51 Martha Saw
48 Trev Smith
42 Mavis Ahoy (Group B)
39 Aziz Winrow
38 Peter O'Donohue
36 Tom Walsh
29 Dale Curtis
10.20pm: Ian Tiley again tops the vote at another Armidale booth, with 129 at Armidale City Public School. Galletly also polls well again.
10pm: Ian Tiley and Jon Galletly topped the below the line vote at Town Hall with 177 and 117 respectively.
9.45pm: Just to recap, big winners so far are Simon Murray, Jon Galletly, Ian Tiley. Above the line, both Country Labor and Margaret O’Connor’s team have polled very well.
9.40pm: Appears to be a glitch in the system. Town Hall votes are not yet available. But they have been counted.
9.20pm: Counting on the eighth booth, Armidale Town Hall, is almost complete. Not many left to go, but they’re the bigger ones. Except for Ebor, which still hasn’t called.
9.10pm: Simon Murray got 374 votes in Guyra, miles ahead of the next best, fellow Guyra resident Aileen MacDonald on 64.
9.05pm: Seventh booth is currently being counted. Simon Murray has a big lead on 616, with Ian Tiley next best on 268.
9pm: Margaret O’Connor’s team got 110 votes above the line in Tingha and Labor 88. Simon Murray did best below the line with 92 a long way ahead of next best, Kevin Dupe on 12.
8.55pm: So far we’ve had Murray and Martin poll strongly outside of Armidale, and Tiley and Galletly pull high vote numbers in the city. Labor, Greens and Margaret O’Connor’s team also polling well in Armidale.
8.45pm: Tingha and Guyra results will be available soon.
8.35pm: It’s heating up now, we’ve got another two booths phoning in results.
8.25pm: With one of the Armidale booths counted, Ian Tiley is now in front with 241, Jon Galletly’s on 219 and Simon Murray has 150.
8.20pm: Ian Tiley topped the vote at Drummond with 203. Jon Galletly got 186 and David Levingston 91.
Country Labor received 203 votes above the line, Margaret O’Connor’s team, Group B, got 131 and The Greens 121.
8.15pm: First upset for the night. Drummond Memorial Public School got the votes into the tally room before the Ebor booth! Should have the numbers available soon.
8pm: The phones are silent in the tally room. Expect they will come in a rush soon. At present we have had 399 votes counted from four booths.
Simon Murray has about a quarter of the votes so far with 102. Libby Martin is second with 45.
7.50pm: Votes from Black Mountain Public School are in. Above the line Group B got 6, The Greens got 5 and Country Labor 3.
Below the line Simon Murray again topped the booth with 46, Jon Galletly got 9, Libby Martin and Ian Tiley both got 5.
Among the other vote getters at Black Mountain were Aileen MacDonald who got four.
Three to Bradley Widders, Peter Bailey and Aziz Winrow.
Two votes to Diane Gray, Martha Saw, Joshua Fittler and Gordon Cope.
Jack Hobbs, Maria Hitchcock, Andrew Murat and Colin Gadd each got a vote.
There were 11 informal votes at Black Mountain Public School.
7.40pm: Simon Murray, 56, and Libby Martin, 40, still lead for votes below the line. Above the line Country Labor has 17, Group B has 13, Group A has 9 and The Greens have 8.
7.35pm: Dangarsleigh Hall results are in. Ian Tiley 23, Jon Galletly 19, Peter Bailey 9 and Libby Martin 7, got the most votes there.
7.20pm: Smaller booths at Dangarsleigh and Ebor are expected to be the next into the tally room. The larger booths in Armidale will take a while longer to count.
7.15pm: It’s very early days, but Simon Murray has the most votes with 53, and Libby Martin is in second place with 33.
7.10pm: Votes from Chandler Public School have come in. Libby Martin 32, Ian Tiley 8, Simon Murray 6, Jon Galletly 4, Maria Hitchcock 3, Bradley Widders 3, David Levingston.
Two votes went to Diane Gray, Andrew Murat and Gordon Cope.
One vote went to Jack Rapley, Kevin Dupe, Les Davis, Pat Schults, Peter O’Donohue, Margaret O’Connor and Debra O’Brien
Labor got 7 above the line votes, and both Group B and The Greens got 2.
6.45pm: Total votes counted from Ben Lomond were 63. There were four informal votes.
6.40pm: Results from the Ben Lomond booth are the first in: Simon Murray 47, Ian Tiley 2, Jon Galletly 1, Libby Martin 1, Aileen McDonald 1, Andrew Murat 1, Joshua Fittler 1, Debra O’Brien 1, Alex Cunningham 1. There was 1 above the line vote for Country Labor, and 2 above the line for Group B.
Saturday, September 9: It’s election day for Armidale Regional Council.
Polling booths opened at 8am, as Armidale votes to elect the first 11 Armidale Regional councillors. The Express visited the polling booths, were we spoke with several candidates standing in the election.
On Saturday afternoon we caught up with one of the candidates, Brad Widders, just before he went in to vote at Newling Public School:
While we were at Newling we spoke with the team running the barbecue, who were hoping to see more customers this afternoon. They also gave us their thoughts on the council election:
Around midday, we were outside Armidale Town Hall, which is the biggest polling booth in today’s election.
As people filed in to cast their vote, we chatted with first-time candidate Jon Galletly:
We visited Armidale City Public School on Saturday morning, where the P&C’s barbecue was proving very popular.
We also caught up with some candidates at Armidale City Public School. Here we spoke with Jack Hobbs:
We also chatted with David Levingston, who leads the ticket under column A for the New England Futures Group:
It has been a long campaign. It has been much longer since we have had an elected council.
We go to the polls to vote for the first Armidale Regional Council, where 11 councillors will be elected to serve our local government area.
That, of course, now includes a much larger area, which includes Guyra and for the time being as far away as Tingha (about 100 kilometres north west of Armidale), where votes will be cast at Tingha Public School. You can find a map of polling places below.
We have 48 candidates, who have a wide range of skills, backgrounds and experience. And if the number of letters to the editor we have received is anything to go by - people really care about tomorrow’s election.
Residents want to know why a candidate will be good for them. They want to know which candidates are going to ensure the new Council kicks some goals for the region.
And they want a Council that they can respect. That is great to see.
After two mayors and 14 councillors were sacked last year, there was anger and a lot of emotion in some areas.
Guyra and Armidale councils were amalgamated, while councils in Walcha and Uralla remained.
Some saw it as a step in the right direction to fix problems that had plagued our city. Others saw it as a mistake.
Standing for election are a lot of first-time candidates and some with experience as councillors.
Regardless of how many of the next group of councillors are new to local government or have been there before for either of the previous councils, what is vital is that they are all community-minded and are there to do what is best for the shire.
We believe it is vital for our region that the new Council is able to move on from the battles of the past, and can work together. They won’t always agree, but a variety of views is desirable.
We wish all the candidates the best of luck, and hope to see the best ones win.
So be vigilant voters. Vote for who you mean to vote for and care about every number you write on the ballot paper.
Because we only get one change at this, and we need to get it right.
Let’s make Armidale great again.
Polling places are open from 8am to 6pm on Saturday.