After the biggest election in Students’ Representative Council (SRC) history, Lauren Lancaster has been provisionally elected president, and Cake for Honi will edit Honi Soit in 2022.
Lancaster follows 2020’s Swapnik Sanagavarapu and 2019’s Liam Donohoe to become the third consecutive Grassroots president, narrowly defeating Matthew Carter (Unity) by 1961 votes to 1785, a 52.35% total of 3746 votes.
Lancaster’s victory keeps a Labor-aligned candidate from the presidency for the fifth year running, after a long period of Labor dominance through the 2000s and early 2010s. She is a current SRC Environment Officer and campaigned on her strong activist credentials, promising to fight course cuts and expand a range of SRC services.
Lancaster was bolstered by support from other left-wing campus factions including Switch, StrikeBack (Solidarity), Left Action (Socialist Alternative), Pump (NLS) and international student-backed Penta. Carter (unusually, a Conservatorium student), was backed by Unity (Labor Right), Ignite and international student-backed Phoenix, though faced criticism for also receiving support from the Liberal-backed Strive and Wave campaigns.
Meanwhile, Cake for Honi prevailed in the annual battle for campus’ most underpaid editorship, defeating rivals Drip for Honi by 2400 votes to 1650, a 59% total of 4050 votes.
Despite broad similarities between the two tickets in both policies and politics, this year’s Honi race was one of the most hotly contested in recent times, and the first since 2016 between two substantively experienced tickets. Three other Honi hopefuls withdrew soon after nominations closed three weeks ago.
Cake emphasised their editorial experience across a range of campus publications during the campaign, as well as a desire for more STEM representation in the paper and “anti-hierarchical” editor-reporter relationships. They had picked up a number of endorsements from left-wing campus figures in recent days.
The Cake editorial team consists of Ellie Stephenson, Roisin Murphy, Christian Holman, Zara Zadro, Khanh Tran, Fabian Robertson, Thomas Sargeant, Sam Randle, Amelia Koen and Carmeli Argana. All have written for Honi this year, while Stephenson and Robertson have both edited Pulp.
The election saw a record 6442 voters participate — a 16.7% turnout of an electorate of 38,639. According to historical data collated by Electoral Officer Riki Scanlan and Deputy Electoral Officer Cameron Caccamo, this makes it the biggest election in SRC history, easily surpassing the previous record of 5732 votes in the 2019 SRC elections, and just 12 votes behind the 6454 votes in the 2019 USU election to become the second-largest ever USyd election.
This is despite, or perhaps because of, an online election held entirely under lockdown, allaying fears that online campaigning and voting would drive down engagement following low turnout in the online 2020 elections (when neither the presidency nor Honi editorship were contested).
3631 votes were cast on the first day alone, surpassing the total number of votes across the entire 2020 election, and notable as the most Day 1 votes in at least the last decade.
Results remain provisional pending an official declaration by the Electoral Officer. Counting to determine SRC councillors and NUS delegates will begin tomorrow morning, with final results expected in the coming days.
Disclaimer: Editors Vivienne Guo (a candidate for Council) and Marlow Hurst (involved with DRIP’s campaign) have declared a conflict of interest for election coverage (including this edition) and are not involved in any of the 2021 coverage of Honi Soit, NUS and SRC elections.