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USU election liveblog

Follow along with the action on the final day of polling as we catalogue the ups and downs of the USU election

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Honi Admin May 18, 20168:54 am

AND WE’RE OFF!

Welcome to Honi Soit‘s election liveblog – a comprehensive and continuous source of the drama, tragedy and (occasionally) farce that is the final voting day of the University of Sydney Union (USU) Board director elections.

We’ve had reporters on the ground since early this morning to make sure we’re not missing anything.

Pancakes on Campus

So far, we can confirm that the USU (led by USU VP Liv Ronan) has an election day breakfast bar with pancakes(!!!) on Eastern Avenue, running until 10AM.

Cameron Hawkins (“Captain Hawkins” himself) has told us, “the day won’t feel like it’s started until I’ve had my democracy pancakes.” Incredible.

Campaigner Numbers

It’s been a strong start for James Gibson (Sydney Labor Students) and Vanessa (Student Unity) in terms of campaigner turnout. Following closely behind is Esther Shim (independent)and Grace Franki (Independent). Courtney Thompson (Grassroots) has had a bit of a slow start, but campaigners are starting to trickle in now.

[Editors’ Note]

It has recently come to our attention that one of the reporters who profiled USU Board Candidate Grace Franki is now campaigning for Grace. We would like to apologise for any perception of bias as a result of this.

As Grace Franki managed the SCOOP for Honi ticket last year, we outsourced her interview and profile to two of our reporters to avoid conflicts of interest. There was an understanding that these reporters would not be involved in Franki’s campaign. Based on the knowledge we had at the time, we felt the profile submitted to us was fair, and reflected Grace’s interview and quiz performance.

In the interests of transparency, the full candidate interviews (from which the profiles were written) are available for viewing on our site.

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:09 am

“Tired, exhausted, hungry but really excited…for this to be over” – Board contender Vanessa Song (Student Unity) on dem feels.


Amen, sister.

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:19 am

30+ campaigners line the pedestrian funnel that is Cadigal. Godspeed USYD.

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:24 am

NUS National Secretary/Student Unity heavyweight/general Melbournian Cam Petrie in town for EdCon planning. Thought he’d stay another night for USU elections ‘n’ chill.

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:27 am

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:30 am

Board contender Grace Franki (Independent) reports RO Penny Crossley has emailed all campaigns a terse reminded to observe exclusion zones.

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:33 am

A voter has just screamed at SRC GenSec and “Count on Courtney” campaigner Georgia Mantle: “GO UNDER A ROCK AND DIE”

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:38 am

Shimmy-on-Board campaigner turns to Haddaway for guidance:

“What is love?”
“How the fuck would I know?”
“Vote for Esther and you’ll find out”
Honi Soit May 18, 20169:40 am
The sweet, sweet taste of democracy.

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:47 am

According to campaigner Michael Elliot (Student Unity), Song has 12-13 lackies poundin’ the pavement. This is set to increase to 24 as the day progresses.

“The only campaign that might be bigger than us is Sam’s [Kwon] – they’re gonna have 22 in the afternoon”.
Honi Soit May 18, 20169:50 am

campaignluv Esther Shim (Independent) of Shimmy-on-Board fame secures the Facebook add:

“He was cute though”
Honi Admin May 18, 20169:56 am

AND WE’RE OFF!

Welcome to Honi Soit‘s election liveblog – a comprehensive and continuous source of the drama, tragedy and (occasionally) farce that is the final voting day of the University of Sydney Union (USU) Board director elections.

We’ve had reporters on the ground since early this morning to make sure we’re not missing anything.

Pancakes on Campus

So far, we can confirm that the USU (led by USU VP Liv Ronan) has an election day breakfast bar with pancakes(!!!) on Eastern Avenue, running until 10AM.

Cameron Hawkins (“Captain Hawkins” himself) has told us, “the day won’t feel like it’s started until I’ve had my democracy pancakes.” Incredible.

Campaigner Numbers

It’s been a strong start for James Gibson (Sydney Labor Students) and Vanessa (Student Unity) in terms of campaigner turnout. Following closely behind is Esther Shim (independent)and Grace Franki (Independent). Courtney Thompson (Grassroots) has had a bit of a slow start, but campaigners are starting to trickle in now.

[Editors’ Note]

It has recently come to our attention that one of the reporters who profiled USU Board Candidate Grace Franki is now campaigning for Grace. We would like to apologise for any perception of bias as a result of this.

As Grace Franki managed the SCOOP for Honi ticket last year, we outsourced her interview and profile to two of our reporters to avoid conflicts of interest. There was an understanding that these reporters would not be involved in Franki’s campaign. Based on the knowledge we had at the time, we felt the profile submitted to us was fair, and reflected Grace’s interview and quiz performance.

In the interests of transparency, the full candidate interviews (from which the profiles were written) are available for viewing on our site.

Honi Soit May 18, 201610:04 am
Marco Avena has to be the frontrunner for the most-stylish campaigner…

Honi Soit May 18, 201610:08 am

Kevin Lee (Franki affiliate) on how things are shapin’ up:

“People have been surprisingly receptive, there have been a few dickheads as usual…Funny observation there are more Honi reporters here than Dom campaigners.”
Honi Soit May 18, 201610:15 am

“Talkin’ hack with Caccs”

Stupol yogi Cameron Caccamo estimates 2500-3000 will be cast in total, placing quota at around 450-500
Honi Soit May 18, 201610:21 am

Grace Franki (Independent) spotted peeling down Eastern Ave on her skateboard. Because USU elections ain’t a thang.

Honi Soit May 18, 201610:40 am

The latest on hack distribution:


ISL: quiet

Courtyard: very quiet

Manning: also very quiet

Holme: has seen 20 votes so far today

Eastern Ave: a quiet morning, but once the day’s students are on campus, will turn
into a stupol colosseum

Honi Soit May 18, 201610:43 am
Cameron Hawkins (Independent) on the average punter’s relationship with elections:

“Frankly most of them don’t give a shit, I still find something morally reprehensible about [approaching] someone on their phone or with headphones on, they have headphones on: they probably don’t want to talk to you”

Honi Soit May 18, 201610:46 am

Dom Bondar (Liberal): “Mainstream students out and about today will hopefully vote for a liberal, mainstream student”.

Honi Soit May 18, 201610:52 am

Campaigners getting tactical:

Of the 6 campaigners at ISL, 5 are first-time campaigners and 4 are Mandarin-speakers. 2 each are lobbying for Grace Franki (Independent), Sam Kwon (NLS) and James Gibson (SLS).

According to an “Embrace Grace” campaigner, “normal hack tactics don’t work here – people probably are going to vote, are a lot nicer”.
Honi Soit May 18, 201610:56 am

Manning booth attendants reckon about 20 votes have been cast so far today

Honi Soit May 18, 201610:57 am

“Vote one, Gaius Julius Caesar” – Will Edwards, Sam Kwon (NLS) campaigner

Honi Soit May 18, 201611:18 am

We’ve hit the 11am lull, it seems. Remember, if you see something, say something. Send your tipoffs, contenders for ~best outfit~, and democratic puns to the Honi Soit facebook page. Especially democratic puns. Your liveblogger would really like some puns.

Honi Soit May 18, 201611:30 am

“Count on Courtney” campaigner Liam Donohoe working hard to convince a voter. He’s been talking to them uninterrupted for about five minutes now – unlike the heated SRC campaigns of yesteryear, no one really seems to be contesting votes. This may change as the end of polling draws nigh later today.
Honi Soit May 18, 201611:43 am
Assorted updates from the ground:
Board candidate Sam Kwon is “doing okay” but may be losing his voice.
Also reports of a “huge spike” in Hawkins campaigners on Eastern Ave. Which is to say, there are now four.
Honi Soit May 18, 201611:47 am

Our first democracy pun!!
Honi Soit May 18, 201611:58 am

It’s looking like we might see a bit more action on the ground in the next few hours (let’s hope, for the sake of democracy and also this liveblog). As midday steadily approaches, the number of Grassroots campaigners on the ground is increasing. They seem to be bringing out the big guns today – former SRC President Kyol Blakeney has been spotted campaigning for Courtney.

According to current Board Director Shannen Potter, James Gibson is also expecting a large campaigner presence after lunch.
Meanwhile, at Courtyard, the most exciting thing happening is someone reading an election edition Honi and smiling. pickupthepaper y’all!
Honi Soit May 18, 201612:05 pm

In the 10 minutes leading up to 12pm, approximately 50 votes were cast on Eastern Ave according to casual observer Naaman Zhou. Democracy is alive and well (or at least it was, for ten minutes)

Honi Soit May 18, 201612:10 pm

Democracy is less alive at ISL, however. Only 5 votes cast there since 11.40 (it’s now 12.08).

(12.09 update: one more vote cast, bringing the past half hour’s grand total to 6)
Honi Soit May 18, 201612:22 pm

Washed up hack and irrelevant oldster Peter Walsh just slid into our DMs via Telegram (great app) claiming that “Sydney uni’s greatest campaigner will be coming out of retirement from 2pm to save the left”. We believe he is referring to himself. We did not ask for comment, but he provided the following quote anyway: “When asked, he was quoted as saying ‘Michael Jordan came out of retirement at 40 to play for the wizards. I’m 24 next month but still bleed green. Dedicate this one to bebe dsouza.'”

Honi Soit May 18, 201612:28 pm

“Shimmy on Board” campaigner at PNR apparently overheard saying “I didn’t even know her policies until the campaigner meeting haha”. We can only hope the voters are more informed.

Honi Soit May 18, 201612:39 pm

Your liveblogger is located near a 3D printer which sounds like someone wheezing into a plastic recorder whistle thing. I will probably develop a migraine and explode if this keeps up for much longer. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Honi Soit May 18, 201612:47 pm

Assorted updates from the ground:

Naaman Zhou, on his lunch break, observes that no one seems to be cafbashing (read: attempting to campaign to punters trying to enjoy a hearty meal) in the Wentworth food court. Is this the end of cafbashing, or are campaigners today just occupied elsewhere?
ISL correspondent Catherine Bouris reports six campaigners present (2 Sam, 1 Hawkins, 2 Esther, 1 Grace). This seems like overkill given that only about fifteen votes have been cast there in the past hour.
PNR, on the other hand, is apparently the ~place to be~, with free food and sick beats. Democracy, get amongst it.
In other news, we tried to approach candidate Vanessa Song for an interesting quote. She told us that her campaigners are evenly distributed between the voting booths. Cool.
Honi Soit May 18, 20161:00 pm

Koko campaigners just walked a couple of voters across the line at PNR – apparently the first votes of the hour there.

Meanwhile, baffling story from a Sam campaigner, who was asked by a voter “is your candidate gay”.
Honi Soit May 18, 20161:02 pm

Reports of cops on campus near the law building. Not sure why they’re here.

Honi Soit May 18, 20163:19 pm

Hello! After a near two-hour absence, the liveblog is (tentatively) back. The short version: our website crashed and we don’t know why. Fuck technology. Long live Honi Soit. For now, keep your fingers crossed for us while we work on a post bringing you up to speed.

Honi Soit May 18, 20163:28 pm

Alright, here’s what you missed during the Great Honi Soit Website Blackout of 1-3pm. Here’s some relevant theme music to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FPEwPpSyVE

The short version: not much
The long version: polling booth attendants estimated 50 votes cast at Manning all day (!) and 40 at Holme, which is really dire. No guarantee it’s accurate, as that would mean more votes were cast at prepoll than today. It’s anyone’s guess, but whatever the numbers, turnout there is low.
Meanwhile at PNR, rumour has it that the President of the Engineering Society (SUEUA), Nicholas Dai has endorsed Esther, leading to a influx of voters.
As it stands, Eastern Avenue is the place to be. In the busy window of 2.50 to 3.10, we counted 50 votes cast. Gathered hacks agree that this is where the election will be decided.
Oh, and usudecides is apparently trending in Australia. Lol.
Honi Soit May 18, 20163:30 pm

Alright, here’s what you missed during the Great Honi Soit Website Blackout of 1-3pm. Here’s some relevant theme music to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FPEwPpSyVE

The short version: not much
The long version: polling booth attendants estimated 50 votes cast at Manning all day (!) and 40 at Holme, which is really dire. No guarantee it’s accurate, as that would mean more votes were cast at prepoll than today. It’s anyone’s guess, but whatever the numbers, turnout there is low.
Meanwhile at PNR, rumour has it that the President of the Engineering Society (SUEUA), Nicholas Dai has endorsed Esther, leading to a influx of voters.
As it stands, Eastern Avenue is the place to be. In the busy window of 2.50 to 3.10, we counted 50 votes cast. Gathered hacks agree that this is where the election will be decided.
Oh, and usudecides is apparently trending in Australia. Lol.
Honi Soit May 18, 20163:41 pm

Getting reports that campaigners are…nicer than usual?
Honi Soit May 18, 20164:00 pm

Returning Officer Penny Crossley has reportedly received 12 complaints about campaigners in exclusion zones. It seems she’s more bothered by the complaints than by the transgressions. We’re not sure of the time period over which the complaints were received.

Simple solution: campaigners, stop walking into the exclusion zones. And maybe chill a bit on the complaints if they’re minor.
Honi Soit May 18, 20164:07 pm

We’re entering a bit of a rush now, lots of voters and campaigners about. Your liveblogger is pretty sure that only one booth (Eastern Avenue) remains open as we head into this final two and a half hours of campaigning. The end is in sight!

This is the part of the day where we get to see some…interesting campaigning. One candidate’s line is currently asking prospective voters whether they’ve voted yet, and then asking what colour the ballot is. We can only assume this is a trick question as the ballot is electronic and (I’m pretty sure) white.
Honi Soit May 18, 20164:13 pm

There is actually a line to vote at Eastern Avenue. So ~now~ the punters want their democracy.
Honi Soit May 18, 20164:20 pm

420 ayyyy

Honi Soit May 18, 20164:33 pm

Please enjoy this picture of Honi Editor and cool kid Victoria Zerbst looking great. Note also her formidable voter tally.

Honi Soit May 18, 20164:40 pm

Overheard on Eastern Ave:

Vanessa campaigner to Sam campaigner: What would you say is the scariest labor faction?
Sam campainer: Unity’s pretty scary.
Honi Soit May 18, 20165:36 pm

Nearing the 5.30pm mark, things are finally starting to heat up in this otherwise bizarrely calm election.

Votes are now being contested on Eastern Avenue, however reports say campaigning is still civil compared to most elections (only two campaigners per person!) It’s unclear why this election has been less intense than others, but let’s be optimistic and hope campaigners are finally starting to respect voter boundaries.

Meanwhile Sam campaigner Lachlan Ward approached Honi correspondents asking “do you need a quote? Do you need a quote?” There is the quote.

Finally, as you escape the rainbow of campaign t-shirts tonight, spare a thought for the lone USyd student ambassador standing at the City Rd end of Eastern Ave. He might be wearing a shirt in the hue of Unity’s Vanessa Song, but he is actually just being paid to stand there to “gather up the year 10s” for a university Year 10 information night.

Honi Soit May 18, 20166:22 pm

Less than ten minutes to go, and campaigners are well and truly outnumbering students on Eastern Avenue. The final stretch is now.

Honi Soit May 18, 20166:30 pm

That’s it! Voting has officially closed.

And so this slightly drowsy election has come to an end. Head over to the Election Night Party held at Manning Bar, where the successful candidates will be announced later tonight.

Stay tuned for more updates on the results of the 2016 Union Board election!

Honi Soit May 18, 20167:23 pm

We are back at Manning Bar for the announcement! Five of the nine candidates will be elected to Board tonight.

The festivities tonight are being hosted by Alexandra Mildenhall and Jamie Rusiti, who have come ready to sledge.
Honi Soit May 18, 20167:56 pm

For those playing along at home, your hosts just sufficiently defamed each of the nine candidates. It’s fine, they won’t remember anything when they wake up at 3pm tomorrow.

We have no clue when the actual results will be announced. At the moment a bunch of BNoCs are dancing to Rude Boy by Rihanna after only drinking one cider each. It’s as awful as it sounds.
Honi Soit May 18, 20168:01 pm

If positions tonight were awarded on “ability to fill out a dance floor with campaigners”, Esther Shim would be elected in first with Courtney Thompson a close second. They are really carrying this party, while other candidates just drink heavily on the margins.

Honi Soit May 18, 20168:07 pm

(To clarify that last entry, your humble correspondents are most definitely just sitting down and drinking heavily on the margins. Who decided to put this weird bass thing on top of Kanye West’s Stronger, a great song from when music was good and pure. Kids these days.)

Honi Soit May 18, 20168:39 pm

The DJ has just had an incredible moment in which he realised playing ‘Get Low’ was a bit sexist, so quickly followed it with ‘Crazy in Love’. All campaigns are now well represented on the dance floor.

(Yes. no results yet, just people who walked 20,000 steps today trying to dance to the playlist of their Year 12 formals.)
Honi Soit May 18, 20168:42 pm

Returning Officer Penny Crossley is in the building, awkwardly circling the DF. Could this mean results are near? We bloody hope so.

Honi Soit May 18, 20168:45 pm

THEY ARE PLAYING THE ABLEIST VERSION OF THE BLACK EYED PEAS ‘LET’S GET RETARDED’. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:02 pm

The weirdest thing about this whole party is that the USU Elections are an electronic ballot. Literally all anyone needed to do to calculate the results was press a button. We could have been out of here two hours ago.

Honi understands that Penny Crossley has already signed off on the provisional results, which means that the results are already known (albeit not to us).
Oh well, let’s keep dancing to ‘Hotline Bling’.
Honi Soit May 18, 20169:06 pm

Your MCs are back on stage. Here come the results!

Honi Soit May 18, 20169:10 pm

We are bizarrely going booth by booth. Thompson (Groots) has taken out SCA and Holme, Kong has nailed PNR, Merewether. Esther Shim has taken Manning and Eastern Ave.

Koko gets an incredible 618 votes at the International Student Lounge. Possibly the biggest booth margin win ever.
Honi Soit May 18, 20169:15 pm

And the overall results

1. Koko Kong
2. Esther Shim
3. Vanessa Song
4. Courtney Thompson
5. Grace Franki
FIVE WOMEN ELECTED TO YOUR STUDENT BOARD. THANK YOU DEMOCRACY.
Honi Soit May 18, 20169:19 pm

Koko Kong has broken the USU’s record for highest number of primary votes – the international student pulled 1451 number 1s on ballot papers over the election period.

Vice Chancellor Michael Spence.

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