Labor mayor Kay Fraser was feeling "quietly confident" of retaining her position after what was a low key campaign at Lake Macquarie this year.
COVID-19 restrictions limited the interactions between volunteers and voters, but Liberal and Lake Mac Independent candidates chose to stay away from the booths entirely.
Labor Mayor Kay Fraser, who is the favourite to retain her position, believed the change allowed voters to go into the polling venues more relaxed.
"I think not being able to hand out today, I think it was quite positive," she said. "I think people who came in to vote felt more relaxed.
"They didn't feel under pressure to take every bit of paper from everyone and they had time to actually say hello and smile.
"So I think for voters, it was probably much better for them to walk in and not be bombarded with lots of paper being pushed under their nose."
Cr Fraser said not handing out materials made it harder to tell how people were voting, but was feeling "quietly confident" on Saturday afternoon just before the polls closed. She believed the leadup to voting day had avoided the negativity often seen in election campaigns.
"We run a very positive campaign and my opponents run a positive campaign," she said.
"We've got a very stable, cohesive council. I've worked really, really hard to make sure we have our debates at council but once we leave the chamber, well, then we can have a chat and get on with things and that's been what the campaign has done as well."
Liberal councillor and mayoral candidate Jason Pauling, who stayed away from the booths for COVID safety reasons, said he was surprised to have received a fair number of phone calls from people wanting to know about him and his party.
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He was hopeful of the Liberals retaining a seat in each ward, but said it was difficult to gauge the voter response due to the restrictions.
"Any sitting councillor is always nervous," he said. "You rationalise it one way and say 'I'll be right', but then rationalise it another way and think 'I could be in trouble'."
"It was very, very hard to campaign this year. A lot of people were saying 'we don't know about anyone'.
"Pre-poll numbers weren't too different to normal."
Some voters The Herald spoke to around the booths on Saturday were voting on party lines or because they were not happy with the Liberals on a wider scale.
Cr Pauling said that was a factor he had noticed this year, as well as in other campaigns.
"It's a little frustrating," he said. "There's a huge disconnect between local government, state government and federal government.
"There's no argument either - they're not interested in hearing anything different."
Greens candidate for West Ward Ingrid Schraner agreed it was a "quiet campaign" but was "cautiously optimistic" of having a Greens candidate voted back onto council.
She said she visited about 15 booths on Saturday and that voters had responded well to the party's policy of wanting to update the Local Environment Plan.
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