Disclaimer: Honi editors Pranay Jha, Nell O’Grady, and Liam Thorne are not involved in USU Board Election coverage.
Polls have closed at the end of another quiet day of 2019’s USU Board elections. Honi has polled 804 voters so far and can make tentative predictions based on the data.
Yinfeng (Benny) Shen has maintained his lead in the race and currently holds 17.8% of the vote. This is a decrease from yesterday when he ended the day with 23.7% of the vote. He is followed closely by Nick Forbutt (NLS) on 15.3%, Eve Di Wang on 15.1%, and Zizheng Oscar Bai on 14.8%.
The first count will elect any candidates who break quota, which requires them to hold 14.3% of the overall vote. If these voting trends continue, it is possible that the four candidates in the lead, Shen, Forbutt, Wang and Bai could all be elected on the first count. In this case there will be only two more positions to fill.
Unity candidate Tom Manousaridis is currently polling next highest at 11.5%, and is likely to receive Wang’s second preferences and Bai’s third preferences. However, in the case that Forbutt, Shen, and Bai are elected, Manousaridis will be excluded. The affirmative action rule requires three of the six elected candidates to be wom*n-identifying, meaning the two remaining places must go to wom*n-identifying candidates.
Tina Lee is currently in last place with 1.2% of the vote, and is likely to be excluded as well.
The race for the two remaining spots will be tight between Ruolin Irene Ma, Ellie Stephenson (Switch) and Cady Brown (Liberal). Ma is polling highest out of the three at 10.6% of the vote. However, none of the candidates elected in the first count have preferenced her second, meaning that she could easily be overtaken. Stephenson is polling next highest at 7.7% of the vote, and is likely to receive Forbutt’s second preferences from any surplus votes. Brown is polling last out of the three at 5.7%. Based on her preference deal, she is likely to receive the majority of Shen’s excess votes, as well as Lee’s second preferences. The flow of preferences will be pivotal in determining which two candidates will be elected.
Should Brown be elected, it will be largely due to Shen’s preference deal with her and affirmative action. This would be an ironic victory for Brown’s campaign, given that Shen is an international student, and Brown stated in her interview, “I don’t have any policies that are international student-directed… I find it very hard to empathise when I’m not in that position.”
Of course, nothing is certain. These predictions are based on candidates’ how-to-vote flyers, which voters don’t necessarily follow. A large proportion of votes are usually cast on the last day of polling and there is still time for numbers to change drastically.
Note: this article was amended shortly after being published to correct a mistake made in the calculation of the quota.