The Armidale Regional Council election field is set, but with 48 candidates, how to you make your vote count?

Forty-eight candidates will contest the Armidale Regional Council election in September.

A ballot draw on Wednesday night revealed a field of 28 men and 20 women.

Eight ex-Armidale and Guyra councillors are standing with forty new candidates.

There are four groups, 25 independents, two from Guyra, one from Wollomombi and about ten Council hopefuls under the age of 40.

But if we cut that number down to candidates who are reasonably electable, that is, discarding those running low on a group ticket, less than 30 candidates are in the race and almost one-third of those have served in local government before.

Voters will elect 11 councillors when they go the polls on September 9.

And at the ballot box, one major choice will affect how their voice is heard - voting above or below the line?

Brian Dollery is a local government expert and director of UNE’s Centre for Local Government.

He said, to avoid voting for someone you don’t mean to, vote only below the line.

“I think that voters should go exclusively below the line,” he said.

Voters should only number the box for a candidate they know and want to see elected to Council, according to Dr Dollery.

“Given the historic problems that we’ve had with the Armidale council, which go back at least two decades, if people just keep numbering [boxes on the ballot paper], there is a danger that we’ll end up with the same problem,” he said.

Residents must number at least six boxes for their vote to count below the line, more than half the number to be elected.

If you vote above, you can number just one box, and your vote will go towards for every candidate in that group in the order they are listed.

Pre-poll voting begins on August 28 in Armidale and Guyra.