Notice of SRC Elections
News // USU

USU Board 2019: Live blog

Follow our live blog as nine candidates battle it out for six spots in the final days of campaigning

All nine candidates over a pink background with the test "USU 2019: Live Blog" in the middle

Disclaimer: Honi editors Pranay Jha, Nell O’Grady, and Liam Thorne are not involved in USU Board Election coverage.

View our live exit polling here.

Honi Soit May 15, 20199:27 pm

We’re out

Campaigners have congregated on the dancefloor to celebrate their win. This concludes the USU Board election for 2019.
Honi Soit May 15, 20199:25 pm
Elected candidates

Benny Shen, Oscar Bai and Nick Forbutt are elected in the first count with quota. Necessarily, this means that Tom Manousaridis has been excluded.

Eve Wang, Irene Ma and Cady Brown are likewise elected.
Alongside Manousaridis, Tina Lee and Ellie Stephenson are excluded.
Honi Soit May 15, 20199:20 pm
Booth by booth results

The returning officer James Hoare first congratulates candidates on what he describes as a “clean campaign”, despite there having been a number of altercations on the trail over the past few days.
Cady Brown came first at the Mallet Street booth,Oscar at SCA, Nick at Manning prepoll, JFR and Manning; Benny at ISL prepoll and ABS, Tom at the Con and Eastern Avenue.
Honi Soit May 15, 20199:13 pm

“Crowd Participation”

Pres and VP are now asking the crowd a series of questions. In response to a question concerning their “favourite thing about the USU”, someone responds “Hack Revue.”
Honi Soit May 15, 20199:09 pm

Results about to be announced

USU President Liliana Tai and Vice President Adam Torres are addressing the crowd briefly, thanking them for attending and participating in the election.
Honi Soit May 15, 20198:51 pm

Technical difficulties

We’re currently experiencing delays in updating this live blog. We were informed at 8:30pm that results would be announced within an hour. Stay tuned for more info, but also keep an eye on our Twitter in case the live blog technical issues persist.
Honi Soit May 15, 20197:58 pm
Awaiting results
Candidates and their campaigners are dispersed throughout Manning. Everyone appears much too tired to be enthused by the DJ who has been rolling for about an hour now. Honi understands the results will begin to be announced around 8:30pm.
Honi Soit May 15, 20196:37 pm

It’s going to be close

This year’s race is incredibly close. It’s likely that some will lose out by a very small number of votes. Preference flows will be complex and multiple candidates are within less than a per cent of each other according to our exit poll data. Based on these results and candidates’ HTVs, we can make a tentative prediction. Bear in mind however that the margin of error in our data as well as voters’ tendency to deviate from HTVs could affect results dramatically.
According to exit poll data and HTV instructions, it’s possible that the following candidates will be elected:
– Nick Forbutt
– Benny Shen
– Oscar Bai
– Eve Wang
– Cady Brown
– Ellie Stephenson
Honi Soit May 15, 20196:36 pm

Polling has closed

Campaigners appear relieved and even delirious. Both Ellie and Nick’s campaigners join in singing “123 Fuck The LNP” – as opposed to the usual “Fuck The ALP” – perhaps indicating a refreshing alliance between the two. They also sing “Solidarity Forever” in unison.
The results party at Manning Bar will begin shortly.
Honi Soit May 15, 20196:28 pm

Polling closes

As 6:30pm approaches, Eastern Avenue prepares to close. Polling is over for the 2019 USU Board election.
Honi Soit May 15, 20196:03 pm

ABS closes

ABS booth has closed. Eastern Avenue will remain open until 6:30pm, after which results will be announced at Manning.
Honi Soit May 15, 20194:49 pm

Spat between Shen and Ma campaigns

A altercation just broke out between campaigners from the Shen and Ma campaigns. Board Director Decheng Sun, a campaigner for Ma, allegedly questioned why Shen is preferencing Cady Brown, a Liberal, second, pointing out her lack of policies for international students.
Honi Soit May 15, 20194:11 pm

Eastern Avenue going off

Eastern Avenue is absolutely awash with voters and campaigners. Very heavily contested votes.
Honi Soit May 15, 20193:59 pm

Manning and JFR close

As 4pm approaches, the Manning and JFR booths are about to close. Eastern Avenue remains open until 6:30pm and ABS until 6:00pm.
Honi Soit May 15, 20193:15 pm

Going places

Nick Forbutt spotted jogging down Eastern Avenue in the direction of Manning.
Honi Soit May 15, 20192:56 pm

Bai campaigner entering exclusion zone

A campaigner for Zizheng (Oscar) Bai has been seen entering the exclusion zone at Manning. Booth attendants fail to notice.
Honi Soit May 15, 20192:36 pm

Jacky He harassed by Ruolin Ma campaigner

Honi has seen footage of SRC President Jacky He being physically restrained by a campaigner from Ruolin (Irene) Ma’s campaign. He can be seen struggling to break free, exclaiming “I don’t want to be touched! What are you doing?”
Honi Soit May 15, 20192:33 pm

Rough margin of error

The Returning Officer, James Hoare, has declined to provide Honi with the number of votes cast so far. Based on previous years however, we can guess that it’s probably somewhere between 2,500-3,000. Honi has currently exit polled 1,483 voters. We can therefore say that our (rough) margin of error is around 1.7%.
Honi Soit May 15, 20191:33 pm

Day two numbers

Day two has seen a dramatic turnaround in numbers compared to the previous two days. After receiving 23.1% of first preferences on Monday, Yinfeng Shen has received only 9.3% of first preferences today. This may have something to do with the fact that the ISL booth, where Shen performed strongly, was only open on Monday and Tuesday. Shen’s vote currently sits at 14.8%.
Cady Brown has also seen her fortunes turn: her first preference vote has surged from 5.7% at the end of yesterday to 8.1% as of the time of writing. Brown has taken 11.6% of all first preferences cast today. However, Shen’s falling first preference vote may be bad news for Brown: it is less likely now that Shen will exceed quota with as many votes as it had first seemed (if at all), meaning there will be fewer second preferences flowing on to Brown.
Ellie Stephenson has also performed well today, rising from 7.7% at the end of yesterday to her current position of 9.6%. Stephenson also has a healthy share of second preferences – 16.6%, more than any other candidate – which will prove crucial if she is to be elected.
It seems many voters have chosen to pick Nick – the NLS candidate is currently in the lead with 15.9% of first preferences. If our data is accurate and this trend holds, Forbutt will exceed the 14.3% quota and be elected in the first count.
The contest between Manousaridis (13%) and Bai (14.1%) is growing close. Should Forbutt and Shen be elected, the two will be competing for the coveted third spot, as affirmative action regulations require three wom*n identifying candidates to be elected.
We’ll be back soon (hopefully) with a confirmed margin of error for our data. Until then, take our exit polls with a grain of salt and keep an eye on them – things are changing quickly.
Honi Soit May 15, 20191:04 pm

Close contest

The numbers are tight between Stephenson (9.3%), Ma (9.6%), and Brown (8%). There’s an equally close contest occurring between Forbutt (15.6%), Shen (14.5%), and Wang (13.5%). Candidates must receive 14.3% of the vote to break quota.
Honi Soit May 15, 201911:40 am

Jacky He censors Honi Soit

SRC President Jacky He has censored this very live blog, ordering the removal of a post documenting his altercations with campaigners from Ruolin Ma’s campaign. He did not consult the Editors before taking this step. This unprecedented exercise of presidential power comes a week after regulations failed to pass council expanding the powers of the Electoral Officer to censor and suspend Honi Soit editors.
Honi Soit May 15, 201911:35 am

Access woes
Apparently a campaigner for Ruolin (Irene) Ma has tried to get 4 UTS students to sign up to Access so they can vote. This caused a bit of a ruffle for the RO, who has just explained that the USU constitution does not recognise you as a member even if you have an Access card. You need to be a student or staff member to be a proper member. So no, you can’t get friends from other unis to vote for your candidate.
Honi Soit May 15, 201911:28 am

Smile for the camera

Advance headkicker and Ruolin Ma campaigner Alex Yang has attached a GoPro to himself and is warning rival campaigners that they’re on camera anytime they try to unfairly contest his campaigning by taking Ruolin flyers out of voters’ hands. It is unconfirmed whether the GoPro is turned on.
Honi Soit May 15, 201911:27 am


This update has been redacted.

Honi Soit May 15, 201911:26 am

Make USyd great again

A couple of campaigners jokingly encourage a Campus Security staff member to vote. The security guard responds, “vote one Donald Trump!”
Honi Soit May 15, 201911:21 am

Exit polls update

Nick Forbutt is leading the pack at 15.5 per cent. Benny Shen and Eve Wang are tied in second at 15.2 per cent. Cady Brown has surged in the polls and is now at 7.8 per cent, having taken over Ellie Stephenson at 7.7 per cent.
Honi Soit May 15, 201910:43 am
Not prudent for Prudence
More technical issues have arisen. Honi hears that Prudence Wilkins-Wheat, originally a candidate for these very elections, was unable to vote as her name was not on the roll. It turned out that she had been on the roll as a candidate, and her name was taken off completely when she dropped out of the race.
Honi Soit May 15, 201910:27 am

We’ve got tea

Honi has heard rumours that SRC President Jacky He was shouting at and harassing Ruolin (Irene) Ma’s campaigners at ABS today. Honi spotted He handing out Oscar Bai’s and Benny Shen’s HTV earlier today as well. What’s going on, President?

Honi Soit May 15, 20199:43 am

We’re sorry, you can’t vote!

Some students are heading to the booth only to find that they can’t vote. This happens if they’re deferred for the semester, which means their name isn’t on the roll. Their name can be put back on the roll but it has to go through the EO, making it dependent on how close she is to a computer.
This means they have to wait for an uncertain length of time before they can be eligible to vote.
Honi Soit May 15, 20199:30 am

Safety first

It’s the first year of the ABS voting booth and it is facing considerable safety issues. Candidate Benny Shen requests voting booth staff to alter ABS’s exclusion zones as campaigners and candidates have to walk onto the busy Codrington st. before accessing the other end of the footpath.

Honi Soit May 15, 20199:14 am

Check this

Benny Shen sets up a decked out stand outside ABS this morning, while other candidates simply hand out How To Votes.

Honi Soit May 15, 20198:32 am


Zizheng is lying in wait for students getting off the bus.

Honi Soit May 15, 20198:19 am

Where are the voting booths today?

JFR: 7.30am to 3.30pm
Eastern Ave: 8am to 6.30pm
Manning: 10am to 4pm
ABS: 8am to 6pm
It will be interesting to see whether Benny can maintain his lead with no polling at ISL today, or whether Cady Brown will maintain many votes at ABS.
Honi Soit May 15, 20198:15 am

Day 3 of voting begins

A swarm of Pick Nick and Tom on Top campaigners lie in wait for students at the beginning of the Redfern run. Benny and his team are blowing up more of his custom-made balloons. Zizheng is campaigning aggressively at JFR, stopping students in their tracks to ask them to vote and at times speaking to them over the line. Students are literally running away from Zizheng’s enthusiasm.
Honi Soit May 14, 20194:19 pm

Day 2 of voting is over!

The polls have closed for the day! Benny Shen has consolidated his lead with 17.8% of the vote. Close behind are Nick Forbutt at 15.3% and Eve Wang at 15.2%. Tune in again tomorrow again for live updates on the last day of polling.
Honi Soit May 14, 20192:42 pm

Forbutt edging towards first place

Nick Forbutt’s first preference vote has skyrocketed from just less than 15 per cent this morning to 17.3 per cent at just after 2:30pm. Forbutt is now 0.1% behind Yinfeng Shen, according to our exit poll.
Honi Soit May 14, 20192:14 pm

Technical difficulties

One of the polling computers in ISL is down. As the polling officer attends to the issue, no one is able to vote while the voting queue stretches longer and longer.
Honi Soit May 14, 201912:58 pm

Jacky He campaigning for “international students”

Jacky He is now holding Bennyficial pamphlets and clarifies that he is campaigning for those who are prioritising international students and those who need the most help. When asked whether he is campaigning for Ruolin Ma, He purports to be surprised that Ma is currently polling behind Bai and Shen, and asks Decheng Sun for some of her flyers. Sun acquiesces reluctantly, and He sarcastically waves them in the air, chanting “I’m campaigning for Irene now everybody!”
Honi Soit May 14, 201912:42 pm

Verbal altercation between Jacky He and Decheng Sun

Jacky He lashes out at Board Director Decheng Sun, accusing him of touching him. “Don’t touch me! Physical violence!” He shouted. Sun accuses He of touching voters. He is restrained by Board Director Zimeng Ye.
Honi Soit May 14, 201912:38 pm

Jacky He spotted

SRC President Jacky He has been spotted at ISL pamphleting for Zizheng Bai.
Honi Soit May 14, 201911:59 am

Update on Tina Lee

Tina Lee has rejected rumours that she plans to drop out of the race, stating that she intends to continue her candidacy and hopes to be elected.
Honi Soit May 14, 201911:54 am

Forbutt, Wang, and Manousaridis surging on day two

Nick Forbutt, Di Wang, and Tom Manousaridis have taken the lion’s share of first preferences today, with 20, 20, and 16 per cent respectively.
Honi Soit May 14, 201911:40 am

Day two begins

We’re an hour and a half into the second day of pre-polling and the numbers are already shifting. Ruolin Ma has overtaken Ellie Stephenson in first preferences, and both Yinfeng Shen and Zizheng Bai have suffered a 3 per cent drop. Di Wang has also overtaken Nick Forbutt by a narrow margin. As of the time of writing, Shen, Wang, and Forbutt lead first preferences.
We’ve heard unconfirmed rumours overnight that that Tina Lee may be dropping out of the race if she doesn’t up her first preference count to at least 10% today. According to our numbers, Lee has risen from 1.2% of the vote at the end of yesterday to 1.7% today, but there’s still a long way to go.
Honi Soit May 13, 20194:10 pm

The end of a long, moderately uneventful day

Prepoll has closed at 4pm.
With reference to our exit polling, Benny Shen is still in the lead on first preferences, with Oscar Bai following. Eve Wang is coming first on second preferences.
We’ll be back tomorrow morning at 10am for day two of polling.
Honi Soit May 13, 20192:15 pm
USU releases apologies
Earlier this week, the USU website’s election page misidentified 2018 board candidate Mike Mao as current candidate Irene Ma. They have today issued an apology.
“We would like to assure Ruolin – and everyone else – that there was no malicious intent behind the mistakes.
As soon as we were made aware of the errors in regards to Ruolin’s photo and name, we posted a correction. The mistakes made were a crucial oversight and should not have happened.”
Honi Soit May 13, 20191:52 pm

Ballooning expenses?

The day is a slow one: voters are coming in steady with two hours of pre-poll to go.
We understand that Tina Lee only has three campaigners out today, including her campaign manager Sarah Cutter-Russell.
According to our exit-polling, Benny Shen is leading in first preferences, and Eve Wang in second preferences. We have polled around 230 voters so far.
Benny has accumulated some flashy campaign material as well: balloons sporting his name, and stickers featuring his very own Memoji – all within the confines of a $700 spending cap.

Honi Soit May 13, 201912:29 pm
Preferences are a-flowing
Preference flows will be critical in determining the makeup of the incoming Board. A few groupings have emerged among the 2019 candidate pool, though some are more convoluted than others.
Ellie Stephenson, Ruolin (Irene) Ma, and Nick Forbutt all appear on each others’ how-to-vote pamphlets.
Bai and Tom Manousaridis have each preferenced each other, however, Bai’s first name is spelt incorrectly as Zhizheng (as opposed to Zizheng) on Manousaridis’ pamphlet:

Zizheng (Oscar) Bai’s has placed Di (Eve) Wang second on his how-to-vote, despite Bai not appearing on hers. Wang has named Caitlin Brown as the third preference on her how-to-vote, though Brown has not preferenced Wang. Both Brown and Yinfeng (Benny) Shen have preferenced Christina (Tina) Lee, and each other. Tina has preferenced them both, too.
In other news, our exit poll data is coming in hot.
Here is the full breakdown of how-to-vote instructions:
Tom Manousaridis
2 Zizheng (Oscar) Bai
3 Di (Eve) Wang
Zizheng (Oscar) Bai
2 Di (Eve) Wang
3 Tom Manousaridis
Di (Eve) Wang
2 Tom Manosaridis
3 Caitlin Brown
Caitlin Brown
2 Yinfeng (Benny) Shen
3 Christina (Tina) Lee
Yinfeng (Benny) Shen
2 Caitlin Brown
3 Christina (Tina) Lee
Christina (Tina) Lee
2 Caitlin Brown
3 Yinfeng (Benny) Shen
Ellie Stephenson
2 Ruolin (Irene) Ma
3 Nick Forbutt
Nick Forbutt
2 Ellie Stephenson
3 Ruolin (Irene) Ma
Ruolin (Irene) Ma
2 Ellie Stephenson
3 Nick Forbutt
Honi Soit May 13, 201911:25 am
Hour one down, an eternity to go

Earlier this morning, all three voting computers at the ISL were down, while hoards of voters snaked down the stairs of the Wentworth building.

Honi are also doing a spot of exit-polling. Updates will be published as soon as we have a substantial amount of data.

Honi Soit May 13, 201911:19 am

We’re just over an hour into pre-poll for the 2019 USU Board election, and voters are rolling in. Follow along here over the next three days for updates as we get them. As always, our anonymous tipline is live, if you happen to hear anything on the grapevine.