The first two days of in-person campaigning for SRC and NUS elections in two years at USyd have wrapped up this afternoon.
The first week of in person campaigning is always a little quieter than the second week, serving as a warm up for the days when votes can actually be cast. Nonetheless, enough campaigners were out to satisfy our election-hungry appetites.
Amplify (NLS), Student Left Alliance, Switch and Grassroots have all spent time on Eastern Avenue so far speaking with voters. Disdain towards campaigners doesn’t seem to have built yet, with fewer earphone-wearing stompers seen than in previous years.
Interestingly, Student Unity (Labor Right), the Liberal factions (Lift) and the independents (Interpol and Independents Inc) were not out campaigning today, in a show of either an effort to conserve energy or a lack of effort all together — possibly both.
Many of the caucuses currently have little to no in-person campaigning experience, so these first few days are proving important for honing their skills and fixing regulations-related mistakes.
Notably, SLA (Student Left Alliance) forgot to put authorisation on their T-shirts. Authorisation (the name and student number of which person has authorised the material as being in line with the SRC’s regulations) needs to be on all campaign-related material, so this was quite an oversight. SLA reportedly missed most of today’s campaigning hours, instead spending them painting the authorisation onto their shirts. Fortunately there are still plenty of campaigning days, so it shouldn’t impact them too much, but it is certainly a stupol-lore tale in the making.
Honi has also heard gossip of a few other first timer-related regulation breaks, like campaigning in plain clothes (campaign shirts required!). As the election goes on and experience is gained, incidents like these will (hopefully) iron themselves out.
The most pressing election-related news is the impact of next week’s public holiday. Electoral Officer Riki Scanlan has confirmed that the elections’ polling period will now be from Monday-Wednesday next week (19-21 September), rather than Tuesday-Thursday. This change is due to the public holiday recently scheduled for 22 September (previously the final day of polling) for a National Day of Mourning to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s passing.
Shifting polling to Monday-Wednesday is likely to inconvenience campaigns — who have likely printed materials and organised campaigners according to the original schedule — and breaks a long tradition of polling taking place during the middle three days of the week. However, it does place the voting period on the three highest foot-traffic days for campus, providing an opportunity to increase voter turnout, which is traditionally lower in years where the President and Honi elections are uncontested.
A full list of polling times and locations can be found here.
Disclaimer: Zara Zadro was, until recently, a member of Switch. She was not involved in any of our election coverage.
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