WITH a record number of Upper Hunter Shire residents taking advantage of early voting this federal election, there has been a steady roll in at polling booths across the region today.
More than 40,000 people in the New England electorate voted at a pre-polling booth in the two weeks leading up to the election.
The figure equates to 36.6 per cent of the electorate - more than a third of eligible voters.
Nationals' Barnaby Joyce cast his vote earlier this afternoon at his home town booth of Woolbrook Public School, an Election Day tradition for the incumbent New England MP.
Meanwhile, the independent candidate who has emerged as Mr Joyce's main contender after throwing his hat in the ring for the first time, Adam Blakester, has cast his vote at a polling booth at Invergowrie in his home shire of Uralla.
The bookies have Mr Joyce, who holds the seat by 16.4 per cent, as the $1.01 favourite.
The polls close at 6pm and counting begins, so stay tuned as we bring you the results as they come in.