FOR thousands of people across the region, it's their preferred way to vote, but the NSW Nationals say the pre-polling period is too long.
The party pledged to push for a week-long pre-polling period for state, federal and local government elections, after a grassroots movement from its members.
The number of people pre-polling has been increasing rapidly at all tiers of government elections.
Earlier this year, more two-thirds of Inverell's voters pre-polled for the NSW election, while a similar number did the same at the federal election this year.
At the state election more than 6400 votes were dropped into the ballot box in the week leading up to the election and just 2834 people voted at Inverell's three polling places, over the 10 hours on election day.
Historically, pre-polling favours incumbent politicians but, despite this, Tamworth Nationals branch chairman Ian Coxhead is one of the many party members who believe the early voting period needs to be reduced.
"You'd think the Nationals would want a longer pre-polling period," Mr Coxhead said.
"In reality, it is an inconvenience to volunteers and a lot of things can happen in the final days of a campaign that need to be properly considered before voting.
"It is just too long. I think it does need to come back to a week. We really need to get back to what pre-polling is all about. We need to look at the guidelines as well, and make it a lot stricter."
When The Inverell Times spoke to Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall following the state election he described the polling booths as deadly quiet.
"You could almost see the tumbleweeds blowing around because there was just no-one there because over two-thirds of Inverell voted prepoll."
But instead of reducing the pre-polling period, Mr Marshall suspected it could go the other way. He said the increasing number of people voting early could make election day completely redundant.
"I can see a time, whether it's next election or the one after, where we actually don't have a polling day anymore," Mr Marshall said, "and we have a voting period of four or five days where anyone can vote at anytime during those days, or if you can't make it, you postal vote or vote online."