Thousands of Wagga residents are set to have their votes in Saturday's election chalked off the record after failing to properly fill out their ballots.
Over half of the initial election results have been published and Wagga's informal vote percentage is sitting at 14.45 per cent, with 2912 ballots set to be scrapped.
The percentage is potentially record-breaking and a huge increase from previous local government elections.
In 2016, the informality percentage was just 6.15 per cent while in 2012 and 2008 it was 8.92 per cent and 8.33 per cent respectively.
MORE ELECTION COVERAGE:
NSW banned volunteers from handing out how-to-vote cards within 100 metres of polling booths to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Charles Sturt University political science professor Dominic O'Sullivan said these rules and the complicated voting system were likely to blame for the increase in informal votes.
"People do tend to follow the how-to-vote cards so I think that is likely to have perhaps been the factor that explains the increase ... because they take the technical difficulties out of the process," he said.
"It's also a complicated voting system and for voters to cast an informed vote they really have to do quite an extraordinary amount of work. If they haven't done that they're more likely to be confused and make mistakes."
Community First candidate Dallas Tout has been involved in local government elections for over 20 years and said he was disappointed by the high informal rate in this year's election.
"Whether it was the complexity of having the standard ballot paper in addition to a referendum or other reasons ... it's disappointing to see such a marked increase of informal voting in something that is so important for the community," he said.
Mr Tout suggested more information could have been made available for voters to be prepared when they entered the booth.
"I think the combination of the inability to hand out how-to-votes, without the corresponding increase in information on the electoral office website, has contributed to it."
The polling station with the highest rate of informal votes was the Currawarna Community Centre where 23.33 per cent of votes have been scrapped, followed by Ashmont Public School and Mount Austin Public School.
Collingullie Hall voters were the region's best with an informal rate of just 5.18 per cent.
Wesley Uniting Church and Ladysmith Public also had high rates of formal voting.
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