The 2023 SRC election is over, with three intense days of polling and a week-and-a-half of campaigning coming to an end. This year, there were three ballots: the SRC President, the 37 SRC Councillors and the 7 delegates to the National Union of Students (NUS).
This year, a total of 2155 ballots were issued — along with 13 online absentee votes — adding up to 2168 total votes cast in this election. With approximately 39,000 students enrolled at the University this year, this means around 5.5% of students voted at this election. Honi exit polled 1126 students over the course of three days of polling (51.9% of the total votes cast).
Voters per booth
|Day One||Day Two||Day Three|
In 2022, 1910 votes were cast. Though this reflects an increase in voter turnout this year, it is a far cry from the heyday of student unionism at USyd. For instance, 4435 ballots were issued in 2016, and in 2021 — which, admittedly, was an online election — there were 5103 votes received. The return to in-person learning is promising for student participation in elections, but there is a long way to go for participation to return to what it once was.
In 2021, 3746 formal ballots were cast for President, 5362 in 2019, 4085 in 2018, 3576 in 2017, and 3708 in 2016. Of these, three were two-candidate Presidential races, meaning that the number of Presidential candidates isn’t necessarily the flashpoint for high voter turnout. In 2023, this number will be less than 2168, because this number indicates the total ballots issued, noting that not all students would have voted for a President candidate. It may be the case that when a Liberal-aligned candidate runs for President, it mobilises voters who do not want a conservative President, and also involves College-based and Liberal students who would support a right-leaning candidate.
In keeping with the trends shown consistently by Honi’s exit polling this week, Grassroots’ Harrison Brennan is expected to win the Presidential race by a narrow margin. Our most recent projections place Brennan in the lead, with 55.9% of the primary vote compared to Labor candidate Rose Donnelly’s 44.1%. Brennan sits at 605 and Donnelly sits at 478, with 87 voters who completed the exit-poll forgoing a Presidential vote. Electoral staff are conducting a count for the Presidential ballot this evening, which is expected to produce a result before midnight. If elected, Brennan will be the fifth consecutive Grassroots SRC President, continuing the faction’s dominance in USyd student politics.
Over the course of the last three days, Honi’s exit polling has seen huge uptake from voters — particularly today, with 435 of today’s 803 recorded voters submitting their preferences. Today’s results showed no significant swings in either the Presidential or Council primary votes, with our projections remaining largely unchanged. Left Action maintained their sizable lead in the Council primary with (24% of the total vote), while Switchroots (23.6%) and Revive (15.8%) trailed closely behind. Liberal-aligned tickets Spark, Gymbros for SRC, and Anti-Woke for SRC — along with international student ticket Penta — continued to underperform, scoring less than 10% of the total vote between them. However, Lift for SRC performed quite well in Honi’s exit polling, claiming 8.9% of the total.
Without knowing the results of factional preference deals, it is unclear which tickets will score the critical ~57 votes needed to win a seat on the 96th Council. Furthermore, Council data is more likely to be unreliable because voters need to indicate not only which faction they voted for, but also the specific ticket they placed as first preference — this is compared to the Presidential vote which is a simple choice between two options. In other words, take this information with a grain of salt.
Exit polling predicts that Left Action (comprising Socialist Alternative members) will have a strong hold on the 2024 Council. While Grassroots and Revive do not have as many tickets who have met quota, based on our exit-polling data, preference flows will likely boost their numbers.
Not accounting for preference flows and based on the total of votes casted over the 2023 SRC election, councillors expected to be elected on quota according to Honi’s exit polling are as follows in order of election:
- Left Action for Free Education (Jasmine Al-Rawi)
- Left Action for Free Education (Simon Upitis)
- Left Action for Free Education (Tamsyn Smith)
- Left Action against Landlords (Deaglan Godwin)
- Left Action against Landlords (Maddie Clark)
- Engineers for SRC (Victor Zhang)
- Engineers for SRC (Rourke Barlow)
- Lift for SRC (Aryan Ilkhani)
- SLA for Trans Rights (Jamie Bridge)
- Left Action for LGBTQ+ Rights (Yasmine Johnson)
- Grassroots for SRC (Harrison Brennan)
- Revive for SRC (Rose Donnelly)
Electoral Officer Riki Scanlan and the SRC’s electoral staff will continue processing primary votes and preference flows over the coming days. The ballot count for President commenced on Thursday night, with results expected later this evening, and Council is expected to commence on Friday, with results set to be announced in the coming days. In the meantime, campaigners and candidates will await the Electoral Officer’s announcement with bated breath. Honi will be following the count for President and Council over the coming days.
Here are some heart-warming celebration pics: