Gladys Berejiklian concedes the NSW election will be tight as she seeks to become the state’s first-ever popularly-elected female premier.
Voting opened at more than 2200 polling booths across the state at 8am (local time) on Saturday, with about four million people expected to cast their vote.
More than 1.3 million have already made their decision and voted early, in what is tipped to be one of the closest elections in decades.
A special Newspoll, published in The Weekend Australian, suggested the coalition is ahead of Labor 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis.
The Liberal-Nationals hold 52 seats in the Lower House, but Ms Berejiklian will need to only lose six seats to relinquish her majority.
Labor will need to pick up 13 seats to clinch an outright majority in the 93-seat chamber.
Many pundits are predicting a hung parliament, which would force either party to negotiate with independents and minor parties to form government.
Ms Berejiklian was accompanied by a media scrum when she cast her vote at Willoughby Public School just before 9am.
“It is going to be a tight race but it is up to the people of NSW to decide,” she told reporters.
“I hope they will decide to allow my government to continue to take NSW forward and provide a strong budget, a strong economy and not allow us to go backwards.”
The premier said there was “no way” her government had been perfect.
“Is there more we could have done? Of course, there is but… I know (NSW) will be much better off if they choose to vote Liberals and Nationals today,” she said.
Labor leader Michael Daley started his day with a meat pie and strawberry milk at a Matraville pie shop – a tradition since he ran for local council in 1995.
“It’s a big day today,” he told reporters later, after casting his ballot at Chifley Public School in Malabar.
“This is the day the people of NSW get to take their lives back after eight years of a chaotic government that has taken them for granted.”
Polling booths close at 6pm on Saturday. Online and telephone voting also closes at 6pm, but people need to register by 1pm.
The iVote system crashed on Friday, frustrating those unable to reach a polling centre on Saturday.
Nevertheless, more than 207,000 people still managed to vote using the system.
About one million voted in person at pre-poll centres, with more than 82,700 received via post and a further 13,700 at mobile centres in nursing homes, aged care facilities and hospitals.
Betting agency Sportsbet has the coalition at odds of $1.38 to return to power, while Labor’s chances had blown out to $3.