FIRST-TIME candidate Ben Fry is leading the race for Bathurst Regional Council ahead of the count resuming on Monday morning.
Almost 15,000 votes had been counted as of 10.30pm Saturday night when election officials ceased counting, however only 12,981 were determined to be formal votes.
Group A, led by Fry, had attracted 2360 first preference votes, accounting for 18.18 per cent of the overall votes that had been counted.
Robert 'Stumpy' Taylor's ticket had the second-highest number of votes on Saturday night, with 17.10 per cent, while incumbent Ian North was sitting in third with 9.48 per cent.
Following them were the tickets of Jess Jennings (Group H), Marg Hogan (Group E), Graeme Hanger (Group F), John Fry (Group B), Nick Packham (Group G), Warren Aubin (Group L), Stuart Pearson (Group D), Geoff Fry (Group J) and Bob Singleton (Group K).
Incumbents Alex Christian and Bobby Bourke were performing the best out of the solo candidates, followed by Stuart Driver.
All three had a higher percentage of the votes than Group K, while Mr Christian and Mr Bourke also had more votes than Group J.
Counting of the votes will continue on Monday.
Pre-poll votes from the Bathurst Girl Guides Hall have yet to be counted, with the returning officer's office focusing on counting the pre-poll votes from the Catholic Parish Centre on Saturday.
Returning officer Stuart Evennett said that the election day went well.
"Election day in Bathurst has ran very smoothly. I would like to compliment the voting public on their behaviour, patience and for carefully following the additional COVID safety procedures," he said.
"Also, I must acknowledged the brilliant work done by the election officials at the polling places and also the dedicated staff in my office.
"Postal votes will be received up to Friday, December 17 and then early the following week we will find out who are the nine elected councillors for the next three years for Bathurst Regional."
Although the final results won't be known until the end of December, the vote count will be progressively uploaded to the NSW Electoral Commission website, allowing the community to follow the count in real time.
If candidates have any doubts about the results, they are able to ask for recounts, which can cost thousands of dollars to conduct.
"This is why I go to the absolutely level of complete integrity and transparency of every stage of the voting and counting process," Mr Evennett said.
"Not only are scrutineers allowed to be present [for counting], they are strongly encouraged."
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