CONSTITUENTS in Lowan and Ripon have turned out in record numbers to vote ahead of Saturday's State Election.
Almost a quarter of voters in Lowan have already made up their minds and cast early votes or postal votes.
As of Thursday afternoon 10.156 people had cast their vote in Lowan and 7203 had voted in Ripon.
Lowan returning officer Graeme Sergeant said the popularity of early voting had grown enormously since the last election.
‘‘In 2010 we took just over 5000 early votes in Horsham. We’ll do substantially more this time,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a developing trend as reflected in the Federal Election and with us.
‘‘People are looking to cast their vote prior to Saturday.’’
He said he was delighted with the efforts of staff in Horsham and Hamilton who were dealing with many people.
Ripon returning officer Andy McCann said early voting allowed people who were busy on Saturday to vote.
‘‘I think the advantage is that a lot of these people are working or not going to be around on election day,’’ he said.
He said the early voting office was in Stawell after being in Ararat for the 2010 State Election.
While the proportion of voters who cast their ballot before polling day was less than other electorates, Mr McCann said it represented a big number when compared with Stawell’s population.
Lowan will be contested by the Nationals' Emma Kealy, Labor's Bob Scates, independent Katrina Rainsford, Australian Country Alliance's Steve Price and the Greens' Nkandu Beltz.
Nine candidates will contest Ripon, with the Liberal Party's Louise Staley expected to battle with Labor's Daniel McGlone.