The 2023 NSW state election is done and dusted with thousands from the Upper Hunter voting to have their say in the third most marginal seat in NSW.
Although the count for the seat of the Upper Hunter was still ongoing, it currently swings two percent towards the incumbent Nationals party member Dave Layzell.
Layzell has maintained this lead with 52.5 percent of the vote while Labor's Peree Watson has 47.5 percent of the vote.
As of Tuesday, March 28, 48.2 percent of the votes throughout the Upper Hunter have been counted.
Despite this, the Labor Party has claimed victory and won the majority of the state of NSW.
Both Mr Layzell and Ms Watson have agreed that the outcome of the Upper Hunter would be determined by the results of the Singleton pre-poll booth, which contains 6500 votes.
As well as this there are 5000 postal votes and 21,000 pre-poll votes cast that have not yet been counted.
The nervous Ms Watson is waiting anxiously for the count to be done.
"They're not counting quick enough for me," she said.
A similar sentiment was shared by Mr Layzell.
"It's quite slow going over there," he said.
The 2023 campaign was Ms Watson's first go in politics, stepping up for the Labor party to contest the Nationals' hold on the electorate.
"I loved the whole campaign... Speaking to people and hearing what their concerns are, having some hope to change is very empowering," she said.
"Win lose or draw for me we've got a Labor government that's coming in and I think that's a great thing."
"We'll see whether, when the final numbers come in, the mood for change resonated in the Upper Hunter or not."
Mr Layzell saw a much closer race than he had in the 2021 by-election due to a number of boundary changes causing the Upper Hunter to become the third most marginal seat in NSW.
This campaign has been a very humbling experience for Mr Lazyell, seeing his family and the volunteers come out in support of him.
"It's always very humbling when you've got friends, you've got family, you've got National Party volunteers coming together and they're helping you," Mr Layzell said.
"It's a huge team that comes together on the day so I always find it a very humbling experience. We had a couple of drinks at night which really topped it off. A good feeling across the board."
With the vote count still ongoing and the margin being so thin between Nationals Layzell and Labor's Watson, Layzell would be happy to win by a single vote, he said.
This margin was made worse by the Independent candidate Dale McNamara deciding to preference against the Nationals.
"I always knew it was going to be a really tough one... I wasn't expecting anything else knowing that everyone's preferencing against you and no one's preferencing for you," Mr Layzell said.
"At this stage, I'm fairly comfortable... I'm cautiously optimistic about the final result but until I see that pre-poll from Singleton, which is where the unions were really focusing their energy, until I see that I'll wait."
Reflecting on his campaign, Mr Layzell is happy with how the campaign went, however there are always things that could have been done differently.
In particular, Mr Layzell had issues at the Singleton booth, he said.
"There's always things that you spend your time doing one thing when you could have easily spent the time doing the other," Mr Layzell said.
"But the whole campaign, I'm very happy with. We ran a very positive campaign."
"We had a few challenges, particularly on the Singleton booth with the attitudes of some of the union members and the Labor... That was very challenging for the volunteers having to do but I'm very proud of managing to keep a positive campaign."
"Hopefully we will get the result in the end."
These alleged challenges may cause difficulty for Mr Layzell as both parties agree that it is at the Singleton booths where the election will be decided.
Counts at the Singleton booths are still ongoing.
If Ms Watson manages to swing the vote back around in favour of Labor it would be a historic win as the first woman to take control of the seat of the Upper Hunter.
Ms Watson found this, alongside the help from all the volunteers and union members very humbling.
"It's been amazing the amount of volunteers who've helped out with food knocking and letterbox dropping and everyone on the booths on the day is humbling for me as a candidate," she said.
"If we can manage to pull this off, it was always going to be a historic win, should we manage it, so it's not surprising it's going to come down to these votes," Ms Watson said.
Nearly a third of all the voters in the Upper Hunter made pre-poll or early votes during this election, with 21,110 of the 62,463 enrolled voters opting for pre-poll.
In total, 4,494 voters voted on Saturday, March 25, according to the NSW Electoral commission, around 17 per cent of Upper Hunter voters.
Electoral commission staff spent the majority of Monday counting upper house votes and expected to count pre-poll votes on Tuesday.
The Nationals are hoping they can hold the two per cent swing that appeared during Saturday night's vote.
However, as counting in other close seats on Monday showed, pre-poll votes can change things dramatically.
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