Election officers have started allocating preferences to decide the next mayor of Orange.
The final stage in the long election process, which will see the first popularly elected mayor in Orange City Council’s history, began at 9am on Wednesday.
Cr Reg Kidd led the count on first preferences receiving 5196 votes ahead of Cr Russell Turner on 4522.
Under the voting system the first step of the preference allocation is to eliminate the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes and allocate their preferences.
In this case Cr Ron Gander, who received 576 votes, was the first to be cut from the count.
After his preferences were allocated the attention turned to Cr Chris Gryllis [1462 votes] and then the sole female mayoral candidate Paula Townsend whose 1621 votes were next to be allocated.
As the winner will need to get 50 per cent of the vote plus one vote it is likely it will take until the last two candidates are left before a winner is found.
A decision is expected later on Wednesday.