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Polls closed in NSW council elections as vote counting begins

Clover Moore is on track to extend her 17-year reign at the helm of the City of Sydney as the vote counting continues.

Incumbent City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore leads the race to remain at the helm but early vote counts have suggested a swing against her.

Key points:
  • Liverpool's outgoing Mayor said COVID-19 lockdowns had highlighted the work councils do for the community
  • More than 652,000 votes were cast online this year
  • Online voting system iVote crashed on Saturday morning

At about 8.30pm, Cr Moore had attracted 42.8 per cent of the more than 18,000 votes — which is just over 10 per cent of all eligible voters — so far counted.

At the 2016 election, Cr Moore, who has been in the job for 17 years, garnered 58 per cent of the vote.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said it was still too early to say how the swing would hold up as more votes, including a large number of pre-poll ballots, are counted.

Labor candidate Linda Scott had 17.5 per cent of the vote, and the city's first Indigenous mayoral candidate, Yvonne Weldon, had received 15.6 per cent.

Cr Moore is expected to deliver a speech at 9pm.

Polls closed at 6pm with results now beginning to show a clearer picture of who the new local leaders will be.

More people opted to vote online than in any previous election, with the NSW Electoral Commission's iVote site crashing on Saturday morning.

Follow Antony Green's live council election results here.

In Hornsby, former federal MP Phillip Ruddock is on track to be re-elected as Mayor.

The state president of the NSW Liberal Party enjoyed more than 56 per cent of the 24,000 votes counted so far.

Speaking on Saturday afternoon, Cr Moore said she was hopeful of continuing in the top job.

She said she believed having a "vision" for Sydney had resonated with voters through the years.

"I think the central issue in this election is about recovery from COVID-19 and I think the second issue in this electorate is about addressing climate change," she said.

"I think they're the two things that are front of people's minds and they're certainly things that are top of our priority."

older woman smilingolder woman smiling
Outgoing Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller.(ABC News: Jonathan Hair)

Liverpool's outgoing Mayor Wendy Waller said strict COVID-19 lockdowns in Sydney's south-west had highlighted the work councils do in the community.

She said her council handed out 2,000 food hampers per week during the height of the lockdown.

"We're seeing wellbeing as, I think, one of the most important issues for our residents because it's not just about roads, rates and rubbish … but local government has become a very complex beast now and it's providing a lot of things for people," she said.

Get to know the councils and candidates on Antony Green's NSW local government elections home page

Earlier on Saturday, the NSW Electoral Commission's online voting system iVote crashed.

Eligibility to vote online was expanded this year with more than twice as many voters choosing to register instead of braving the queues on election day.

The number of online votes rose to 652,983 since the system opened on November 22, up from 234,401 in 2019.

a group of voters line up outside a polling bootha group of voters line up outside a polling booth
Residents in 35 councils had to vote directly for mayor.(ABC News)

In apologising for the outage, iVote said in a statement: "Almost triple the number of voters have used iVote at these elections than any previous election."

Anyone who requested for iVote but were unable to cast their ballots due to Saturday's crash will be excused from penalties.

People who failed to vote face a fine of at least $55.

Counters will not begin tallying online votes until 6pm on Monday.

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