Tasmania’s political leaders have left their future in the hands of voters after casting their ballots in the state election, with Premier Will Hodgman admitting to nerves “a little like a wedding day”.
Mr Hodgman was joined by wife Vicky and their children at a Sandy Bay primary school on Saturday morning where he bypassed a sausage sizzle on his way to the ballot box.
Labor Opposition Leader Rebecca White and Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor cast votes in their home electorates.
After five long weeks of vigorous campaigning from 109 candidates across the state, about 330,000 Tasmanians are expected to turn up to polling booths at 268 venues around the state, from King Island to Southport.
Mr Hodgman is aiming to become only the second Liberal premier to win consecutive majority government where the Liberals currently hold 15 seats in Tasmania’s 25-seat House of Assembly.
“There’s always a few butterflies on a day like today, but you know that’s part and parcel,” he said after stopping to buy some cookies.
“There’s a lot riding on it, not just for me and the team, but for our state,” he said, with the hope the Liberals will win 13 seats to keep his majority.
At age 35, Ms White could become the youngest premier in Tasmania’s history.
“I’m very optimistic because we’ve run a very positive campaign talking to people about the things they care about,” she told reporters outside the Sorell Memorial Hall in Lyons on Saturday.
“I hope today that with our candidates, that have worked so hard across the state… that we can win,” she said.
Seeking a second term, Mr Hodgman wouldn’t be drawn on what the Liberals would do in the event of a hung parliament.
Ms O’Connor described the 2018 poll as a “a battle for Tasmania’s soul” and the island’s clean, green future and would not be drawn on whether she may need to wait by the phone on Sunday should neither Liberals nor Labor win majority government.
“We won’t know what the actual result is until the final count’s in and that can take some days,” she said in West Hobart, in the seat of Denison.
The first results are expected to roll in at 6.30pm, half an hour after polls close.
Tasmania’s Electoral Commission says 50,000 Tasmanians have already used pre-polling services.
Tasmania is the last state in Australia to still offer a public tally room, where votes are displayed on a big screen in real time.