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NSW election: Leaders cast their votes as extremely tight voting race begins

NSW Election 2019 : Polls have opened across New South Wales, with more than four million people expected to lodge their votes Gladys Berejiklian and Michael Daley have both cast their ballots and greeted local voters.

Ms Berejiklian’s coalition entered the election with a slight two-party preferred lead, according to a Newspoll. Polling booths across NSW will close at 6pm and 9News’ live coverage will begin from 5pm

A voting centre on the NSW Central Coast had to be temporarily closed after the death of an elderly man.

The man, believed to be in his 80s, had a medical incident at The Entrance campus of Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College about 11.15am on Saturday, NSW Ambulance said.

Police said the death was not suspicious, and the NSW Electoral Commission said the voting centre was closed until paramedics had left the site.

The centre re-opened by early afternoon.

Independent candidate for Sydney Alex Greenwich (left) gets a good-luck kiss from husband Victor Hoeld at St. John’s Church Polling Booth in Darlinghurst.

The election-day feed is a fraught moment for any political leader.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her opposite number Michael Daley both went with somewhat unorthodox choices – the former opting for barbecue sauce on her democracy sausage, while Mr Daley bucked convention for an entirely un-sauced pie.

A cheery former NSW Premier and Labor Party leader Bob Carr was spotted today in Randwick speaking to local residents and voters heading into the polls.

When Carr was in government, he held the seat of Maroubra with the Labor Party for 22 years from 1983 to 2005.

A polling centre on the NSW Central Coast has been forced to close following the death of a man while voting.

The person died after a medical incident at The Entrance campus of Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College about 11.15am this morning, NSW Ambulance said.

Police said the death was not suspicious, and the NSW Electoral Commission said the voting centre would remain closed until paramedics had left the site.

9News understands the man was a member of the public aged in his 80s and may have died as a result of a suspected heart attack.

In this year’s state election, the stakes around education are high, with Australia’s lagging literacy and numeracy results a worry for parents.

Labor has promised to pour $2.7 billion into public schools, in line with the Gonksi scheme.

If it is elected, it would make NSW the first state to fully fund the Gonski scheme.

Meanwhile, Labor is promising to boost school infrastructure and upgrade buildings.

New South Wales leader of the Nationals John Barilaro was also spotted in his electorate speaking to voters this morning.

Mr Barilaro attended a school in the south-eastern city of Queanbeyan.

The incumbent Member for Monaro is today facing five other candidates all looking to contest his seat.

Peter Marshall is running against Mr Barilaro for The Greens, while Bryce Wilson is representing Country Labor, Frances Seymor for the Animal Justice Party, Michael Holton for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and Andrew Thaler as an Independent.

One of the key issues dividing voters in this NSW election is transport in the nation’s most congested city – and the two major parties are at loggerheads over how to attack it.

Between overdue, over budget major projects in place by the Berejiklian government, and the Opposition’s plans to upgrade the existing Sydney train network, transport has become a major buzz-topic for voters.

It’s a potentially multi-billion-dollar issue that could contribute to deciding the next Premier of New South Wales.

While voters around the state have their say about the future leadership of New South Wales, many people are also trying their hands at the other hotly-contested aspect of election day.

From cities to towns, election polling centres have kept voters’ stomachs full with the famed “democracy dogs” that have become incredibly popular.

If you’re not a sausage sandwich afficionado however, fear not – many polling centres also have a range of other treats available for voters heading into the booths.

Plunkett Street Primary School in Woolloomooloo, in Sydney’s inner CBD, was this morning awash with the colours of Independent candidate Alex Greenwich’s campaign posters.

Greenwich has held the NSW seat since 2012 and, in this year’s state election, is running against five other candidates.

Jo Holder is contesting the seat for the NSW Labor Party, while Lyndon Gannon is representing the Liberal Party, Jonathan Harms for The Greens, Christopher Thomas for the Sustainable Australia party and Fiona Douskou for The Small Business Party.

Soon after Ms Berejiklian was spotted in Sydney’s north, Opposition and NSW Labor Party Leader Michael Daley was also seen early, ready to place his vote.

Mr Daley was first spotted in Matraville this morning, just south of the Sydney CBD, where he took a moment to eat a pie for breakfast.

Afterwards he travelled to the Chifley Public School in Malabar, where he submitted his ballot paper.

Mr Daley’s vote comes after a tough week in campaigning that resulted in his satisfaction rating taking a five-point hit and disapproval rating rising nine points, according to a Newspoll.

Incumbent NSW Premier and Liberal coalition leader Gladys Berejiklian rose early this morning to cast her vote in today’s state election.

Ms Berejiklian submitted her ballot paper at Willoughby Public School in her electorate in Sydney’s north.

Outside of the school, she told Today that, while the direction of New South Wales now lies in the hands of the voters, she wants to see the state continuing move forward under her lead.

It’s going to be really really tight and I think today the people will decide for themselves but I don’t want to see NSW go backwards,” she said.

We’re building for the future now, we’ve got a strong economy, we’re helping taking pressure off families and that’s where I want to see NSW (go) into the future.

Welcome to live coverage of the NSW election.

We will be giving minute-by-minute updates as the results pour in from all over the country.

Our television coverage will begin at 5pm and you can follow the livestream here.

Polling has shown Labor and the Coalition neck-and-neck, with the experts anticipating a long night.

It is entirely possible that a slow count and a hung parliament will mean we will not know who will emerge as the winner for days.

In the centre-right corner is Gladys Berejiklian, the sitting premier and leader of the Coalition.

In the centre-left corner is Michael Daley, the Labor opposition leader.

The Greens will be eyeing off several seats in Sydney’s inner-west and on the north coast, while the Shooters and Fishers’ Party are hoping to win some seats in Nationals heartland.

In the Legislative Council, former Labor leader Mark Latham will try for a comeback as One Nation’s candidate.

The election will determine who will run the state of NSW for the next four years.

And political pundits will be using the result as a metric of voter enthusiasm for the federal election, likely to be held in May.

Polls close at 6pm, and the first ballots will start to be counted soon after.