In a sign that the people of Rockhampton have voted for experience in the mayoral by-election, long term councillor Tony Williams has an early lead in the first poll count.

However, electors will only begin counting crucial preference votes today. Politics experts have said preferences could have a significant impact on the outcome of the election.

As at 7am the morning after polling day, Cr Williams has secured just shy of 25 percent of the primary vote, ahead of former executive director of the Rockhampton Regional Council, Russell Claus, who has 15 percent.

Almost 80 percent of the votes have been counted in the first votes count, accounting for 44,649 votes of a total 55,885 people enrolled.

Wildcard candidate Chris “Pineapple” Hooper is running third with 12.5 percent of primary votes.

Below is a tally of votes from the Electoral Commission of Queensland.

MORE TO COME

Russell Claus spent polling day greeting voters at election booths around Rockhampton

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