THEY couldn't hand out election material, but candidates took every opportunity possible to talk to voters as they arrived for day one of pre-poll on Monday.
Due to the pandemic, there are two pre-polling centres in Bathurst for the local government election, which are located at the Bathurst Girl Guides Hall and the Bathurst Catholic Parish Centre.
Candidates are also prohibited from handing out election material within 100 metres of the polling places, making it more challenging for them to get their message out to voters.
However, they are allowed to stand as close a six metres to the entry of a polling place and talk to voters as they arrive, and that's exactly what a number of candidates did on Monday.
Where candidates couldn't be present, willing volunteers took on the role of meeting the public.
Sue Douglas was standing in for Group E, a team of five being led by Marg Hogan.
She said it had been a quiet morning at the Catholic Parish Centre, but there were plenty of voters willing to have a chat.
"It's quiet so far, but we're finding there is an appetite for change in the electorate and there's also an appetite for choosing a new group of councillors that will be able to work together," Ms Douglas said.
"There's still a lot of people who are undecided and we're just encouraging them to try something new. A lot of the old councillors, they've done a great job, but they've had their turn. It's time to give some new people a turn."
Candidate Ben Fry, who is leading Balanced Bathurst (Group A), also found people were looking for a change in their Bathurst Regional Council representatives.
"I think everybody is generally concerned for a bit of change, that's what I'm getting," he said.
"People are flowing in [to pre-poll] and it's good to see.
"It's nice talking to community, too, in a time where we haven't necessarily been able to communicate with our community and in a time where it's not necessarily seen as above board to door-knock and go to certain groups and talk to community members. It's great just seeing people out and about again."
Mr Fry also used pre-poll as an opportunity to learn about lesser-known issues residents want council to address in the new term.
While there was a slow start to pre-poll on Monday, current councillor Graeme Hanger, the lead candidate for Group F, said he expected numbers to pick up on the weekend.
"This coming Saturday, the first Saturday, could be a bit busy because of the number of people working today (Monday)," he said.
All the candidates and representatives the Western Advocate spoke to on Monday said it was their intention to have a presence at both pre-polling centres daily through to election day on December 4.
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