WA Labor has rushed to change its how-to-vote card for Saturday’s Rockingham by-election, relegating popular independent Hayley Edwards to the bottom of its list of preferences for Labor voters to follow. In a sign the ALP is worried the election for the long-held and uber-safe seat will be decided on preferences — and could even be lost — Labor candidate Magenta Marshall’s preference card had Ms Edwards at number three, but Ms Edwards has now been pushed back five places and preferenced at eight out of the nine candidates. It was just Greens candidate Madeleine De Jong preferenced before Ms Edwards prior to the change, now Legalise Cannabis WA’s Rae Cottam, Liberal Peter Hudson, Janetia Knapp, independent Clive “Arthur” Galletly and the Australian Christians’ Mike Crichton have all been bumped up the ladder. The independent and former deputy mayor of Rockingham said she found the last-minute political play “very interesting” given Labor holds the former seat of ex-premier Mark McGowan by a whopping 37.7 per cent margin. “(Labor) should get the primary vote, so preferences shouldn’t really matter for them unless they’re concerned they’re not going to get the primary vote,” Ms Edwards told the Sound Telegraph. “They must be erring on the side of ultra, ultra caution.” Cracks in the Labor campaign started to show when it was revealed Ms Marshall had lost her licence due to a drink-driving conviction less than two years ago. The 28-year-old had her licence suspended for six months after she blew a blood alcohol reading of 0.08 — well above the 0.05 legal limit. Labor operatives say they expect Saturday’s by-election to go down to the wire. They have not discounted the unthinkable — that Labor could lose Rockingham. It’s a worrying thought given almost half of voters have already cast their ballot, with more than 13,000 voting early. Labor sources believe it’s highly unlikely ther ALP will win on first preferences, as has been the case in several elections. Not since 1996, when Mr McGowan won Rockingham on preferences, has Labor not won the seat on the primary vote alone. Labor sources admit the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act is hurting its chances in Rockingham, with the Liberals making this a core election issue. Fierce debate about the Voice to Parliament is also robbing Labor of any positive messaging this by-election, sources say. Labor insiders fear preferences from independents and minor candidates could ultimately decide this by-election. At the 2021 election, Mr McGowan won an incredible 82.75 per cent of the primary vote. As recently as Friday morning Ms Marshall posted photos of herself holding the old how-to-vote card — including one with the former Rockingham member and premier. Ms Edwards has garnered significant support throughout her campaign, with many respected community advocates throwing their weight behind the former Rockingham deputy mayor. She has capitalised on Labor’s botched rollout of the Aboriginal cultural heritage reforms, which are now being linked to support for the Voice, by saying she would seek to “pause” the referendum should she take Rockingham in what would be a shock upset for Labor. “I think the Aboriginal Heritage Act has thrown a spanner in the works. People are linking the two issues,” she said. “The Voice is heading to defeat and I think that’s such a great risk for this country. It’s a great risk to reconciliation and moving forward as a nation.” It appears support for Ms Marshall has continued to wane, with Ms Edwards saying many of the early voters she’d spoken to say they “wish they knew what they knew now” and could change their vote. “(They) have said they wish they hadn’t voted for her.” Ms Edwards has Ms Marshall preferenced at eight, Ms De Jong at seven and Mr Hudson at four — in a sign the independent’s preferences may flow through to the Liberals before Labor. Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti on Friday said Ms Marshall was an “excellent” Labor candidate and had run an “excellent” local campaign, but acknowledged a win was no certainty — in line with her boss Roger Cook’s instructions to be humble in the wake of shock polling showing slumping support for the party. “I would like to, of course, win the seat ... but we do believe it’s a tight contest,” Ms Saffioti said. “Every by-election has different factors. Of course, we’ve got the retirement and exit of public life from probably the most popular politician that we’ve seen in our lifetime, Mark McGowan. “So that has an impact. Voter turnout also always impacts margin so we expect it to be a tight contest. “Holding this seat of Rockingham is very much our priority.” Ms Marshall was a “Rockingham born and bred local” and passionate about the community, including volunteering for local soccer teams “but we’ve been working really, really hard”, Ms Saffioti said.