The second voting day of the SRC for the 2022 elections has come to an end. Three other booths were open today: Fisher Library, Charles Perkins Center (CPC) and Peter Nicol Russell (PNR) as well as the Jane Foss Russell (JFR) booth which was open yesterday. The Fisher and JFR booths had the highest density of activists and voters; This is not surprising as both are at key walking points on campus and were open the longest (8:45am-5:15pm). Conversely, PNR and CPC will not be open tomorrow, making today’s campaign crucial for both engineers and colleges for SRC.
At almost every booth, competition for voters was strong throughout the day, with Left Action (SAlt), Student Left Alliance (Solidarity and unaligned Left) and Stand Up (Student Unity, Labor Right) competing for the first hour of voting Voters fought stalls open. Some resorted to unconventional tactics to win over voters and foment general electoral chaos. Meanwhile, Bei Fisher, Gymbros (Liberal-Aligned) and Lift (Liberals) engaged in a terrifying public weightlifting event Sky news Angel Cooper Gannon and other Lib counterparts tried to fool the left (see yesterday’s synopsis for a definition of “duplicating”).
The votes at PNR were not very contentious, with Amplify and Lift being the only tickets, with activists stationed at the stand for most of the afternoon. It was similarly quiet at the Charles Perkins Center, with only colleges (right-aligned) campaigning consistently — very few votes were cast at this booth during the day, with just 29.
The total number of votes cast on the second day is 676, of which honey Exit surveyed 445 (65.8%).
Left Action maintains its lead from yesterday and is the first preference of 20.3% of voters polled in an Exit poll over the two days, while Grassroots is second at 12.9%. Third is Amplify (NLS, Labor Left) with 10.9%, followed by Switch with 10.8% and Engineers in fifth with 9.8%.
Student Left Alliance (Solidarnosc and Non-Aligned Left) and Lift (Liberals) are in the middle with 7.8% and 7.2% respectively. The three lowest factions are Lefties at 1.7%, Artistry (Conservatorium Unity) at 1.2% and INTERPOL (Independent) at 0.6%.
Artistik is expected to receive a majority of their votes tomorrow as Wednesday is the only voting day at the Conservatorium of Music.
Surprisingly, tickets from established factions Stand Up (Unity), Penta and Colleges underperformed over the two days. Stand Up received only 3.7%, Penta received 2.2%, and only 2.8% went to the colleges of the total number of exit poll votes.
That day, the left continued to dominate in general exit polls. However, Left Action, Grassroots, Switch, Student Left Alliance, and Stand Up all experienced a setback against them. Engineers, Independents Inc., Lift, Colleges, Artistry, Amplify, INTERPOL, and Penta all saw a shift in direction – albeit marginally for some.
The openly left factions that have historically done business together (Grassroots, Switch, Left Action, Amplify, and Stand Up) accounted for 66.8% of the vote on day one, but lost with a collective momentum of 12.7 percentage points against her on the ground.
Left Action saw the largest drop in vote share, with a counterswing of 6.7 percentage points. However, they still hold a large number of preferential votes. They’ve clearly outdone themselves compared to previous years, causing confusion among other factions aware they’re a largely unpopular group on campus (see: USyd Rants), and even surprising Left Action itself.
This can essentially be attributed to two things. First is their strong gain in international student votes due to a lack of strength from formerly dominant factions like Penta. The other is their presence on the ground – consistently their number of activists at each booth has beaten other factions. Most notably, not all activists appear to be from the Socialist Alternative. In fact, one activist is reported not only to have said that he is not in Left Action, but also to have been unable to say what Left Action actually is is.
While this goes to show that they desperately need to reframe the morning debriefing on talking points, it also proves what is often forgotten about student elections: it’s less of a contest of ideas and more of a contest of simply convincing people , choose to go. No matter how bad your talking points, how illegible your graphic design, or how limited your BNoC status, if you have the most activists on the ground getting voters across the line, ballot in hand, you will win.
StuPol mainstays Switch and Grassroots also experienced a 3.9 percentage point and 0.7 percentage point swing against them, respectively. This change comes despite contributions from current President Lauren Lancaster and President-elect Lia Perkins to the campaign effort. It is highly unusual for the two most dominant factions on campus to be fighting against the comparatively unpopular faction of SAlt.
Engineers increased their share by the highest margin of 4.2 percentage points, unsurprising given Peter Nicol Russell (PNR)’s booth opened today. Despite the swing towards engineers, they must continue to win votes on the last election day tomorrow if they hope to maintain their strong position on the council. This could be an uphill battle for the faction as today was the only election day with a booth in the engineering district and they decided not to campaign in person even though the election involves almost no online voting.
Buoyancy was the next big winner, claiming 7.1% of the total thanks to a 3.9 percentage point rise towards them.
The colleges likely used their undisputed presence at the Charles Perkins Center to claim a 3.4 percentage point momentum in their direction.
Fashion in the election campaign
One of the most important aspects of campaigns is, of course, to be seen doing it. honey has curated a selection of fashion-forward hacks from the Eastern Avenue runway.
SRC Pres Lauren Lancaster wears the tried-and-true Switch campaign t-shirt and loafers combo:
Amplify Ticket Head Jasmine Donnelly looks chic in dark flare jeans, a 2000s choker, Doc Maryjanes and a casually tucked-in campaign tee. Henri Collyer wears matching Docs – this is solidarity on the left:
President-elect Lia Perkins is serious about sunscreen – where are the other activists in hats?! Perkins is prez for a reason I think:
Colleges for SRC, we let you know: throwing a campaign shirt over buttoned pants, chinos and RM Williams doesn’t hide your obscenely boring outfit choice:
Former USU CEO Belinda Thomas poses in an unauthorized hand-drawn campaign t-shirt, speedies and platform boots – we’re letting you know this isn’t really London Fashion Week! (It’s better x):
Left Action has so many activists they’ve run out of shirts – there’s DIY, small business, slow fashion, etc:
Jack Scanlan wears an akubra (yes, that’s a hat), blue jeans, and a lab coat to represent STEM and regional students—this is multitasking:
The Student Left Alliance activists are all smiling in t-shirts to match the Eastern Avenue banners, paired, of course, with the down-to-earth staples of birch trees and socks:
honey Editor Sam Randle in branded t-shirt and aviator sunglasses. 10/10 In our opinion, the finest fit of the day:
Tomorrow is the last election day on which the JFR and Fisher booths will be open from 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. The Conservatory and Manning House stands are open from 10:45am to 3:15pm and 3:30pm respectively.
The Student Left Alliance is lobbying for booths to be closed from 9:45am to 10:45am to encourage participation in the UTS strike and picketing. They released a statement signed by grassroots. The statement is available on their Facebook page. It doesn’t look like polling booth times are going to change just yet, but they will honey will be updated accordingly.
All photographs by Thomas Sargeant.