Maitland’s two horse race for mayor looks set to continue into a fifth day, with a result unlikely to be announced today.
Postal votes were received until 6pm Monday, with late entries to be counted first before counting starts on preferences on Tuesday.
Preferences will play a crucial role in the mayoral race, with Labor’s Loretta Baker holding a lead of 1,441 votes over next closest rival, Independent Phil Penfold.
Depending on how the numbers fall, a result could be announced late on Tuesday, but it is more likely that voting will continue into Wednesday.
Across the wards, it’s likely that Labor, the Liberals and the Penfold team will each contribute four councillors each.
In central ward, Labor will have Loretta Baker (or Donald Ferris in her place, if she is elected mayor) as representative, alongside Liberal Sally Halliday. Cr Philip Penfold, with a 300 vote lead, will likely stave off a challenge from Cr Brian Burke for the third councillor spot. If Cr Penfold is elected mayor, Bill Hackney will take his place.
In north ward, Mitchell Griffin (Liberal) and Robert Aitchison (Labor), with Penfold Team’s Mike Yarrington also holding a lead over Independent Michael Cooper.
In east ward, Kanchan Ranadive (Liberal) will be Maitland’s first India-born councillor. She’ll be joined in the ward by Labor’s Ben Whiting and Penfold Team member Peter Garnham.
West ward will consist of Penfold Team’s Nicole Penfold, Labor’s Henry Meskauskas and Liberal Ben Mitchell.