The last few months have seen council contender debates get fiery. A candidate walked off stage at one meeting, another was clapped off stage while she was still talking and another suggested housing homeless in barns. But the battle for seats on the region's councils comes to a close today. Zizi Sparks finds out how to place a last-minute vote and when the region's new mayors and councillors will be known.
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Electioneering has plastered the Bay's streets, mailboxes and social media feeds in the past weeks.
Today it comes to a head when the initial results of the local government elections are announced.
Polling closes at midday today and while it is too late to post votes, they can still be handed in at multiple locations around the region.
In Tauranga, ordinary votes can be placed at the council service centre on Willow St between 9am and 12pm or at the Pāpāmoa, Greerton and Mount Maunganui libraries from 9.30am to 12pm.
Special votes can only be made at the service centre.
Tauranga City Council deputy electoral officer Robyn Garrett said it was important people chose who would represent them.
"We're urging people who are yet to vote in the Tauranga City Council election to take their voting papers to a council library or our Willow St service centre before midday.
"It's really important for the people of Tauranga to choose who will represent them on council for the next three years."
Lagging voter turnout prompts online voting call
In Rotorua, voting papers can be handed in at the council building on Haupapa St and the library and special votes can be made at the council.
In the Western Bay, voting papers can be dropped in at any of the offices across the district until midday, including the offices at Barkes Corner, Katikati, Te Puke, Ōmokoroa and Waihī Beach.
As of October 10 voter returns for the three councils sat at about a third of eligible voters.
In Rotorua 39.39 per cent of eligible voters had returned their documents, down just slightly on the same time in 2016 when it was 39.69 per cent.
In Tauranga, voter returns were at 32.96 per cent, again down on the same time last election when returns were 33.02 per cent.
And in the Western Bay voter returns sat at 32.33 per cent, compared with 33.14 per cent in 2016.
Progress results should be known from around 1.30pm for councils using the first past the post voting system like the Rotorua Lakes Council, and from 4pm for councils using the single transferable vote system like Tauranga City Council.
Progress results are announced when about 95 per cent of votes are counted and may differ from preliminary results depending on how many votes were handed in late.
The official preliminary results will be online late afternoon on Sunday while the official declaration of finalised results will happen between October 17 and 23 after special votes have been counted.
Rotorua Lakes Council chief executive Geoff Williams said he was looking forward to working with a newly-elected council.
"Following the election results over the weekend I'm looking forward to understanding how the new council wants to respond to some of the key challenges outlined in the pre-election report such as housing availability, inner-city revitalisation and safety, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the reintroduction of the four wellbeings into local government."
Each council has a different bylaw relating to when election signs must be taken down.
In the Rotorua Lakes Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council areas signs should have been taken down by midnight last night.
In the Tauranga City Council area signs must be removed 24 hours after polling day.
Elected members will be sworn in some time in October or November.