Day One of polling for the 2023 SRC Election came to a close, as voters and campaigners weathered 34 degree heat. The only voting booth open on Day 1 was the Jane Foster Russell (JFR) building. Since JFR connects most students from the Redfern Run into campus, there was high voter density in a single area, meaning campaigners could focus their efforts along the Redfern Run and around the voting area.
And focus it they did — campaigners were out in large numbers, targeting students on both the Redfern Run and City Road bridge sides of campus. The only safe passerbyers were students wearing a “I have VOTED” sticker, as everyone else was “walked and talked” right up to the line. The heat of the day added extra tension, with several factional squabbles breaking out, culminating in Annabel Petit (Left Action) twice claiming that Revive were bringing in people to campaign that she “had never seen” before (referring to what SAlt views as their absence in activism). Gerard Buttigieg (Revive) quipped that “Annabel you were born in the 1990s”.
Honi conducted exit polling throughout the day to track what next year’s SRC could look like ahead of the final ballot counts on Thursday and Friday. Yesterday, 570 votes were issued in total, and 233 responses were recorded in exit polling: around 40.9% of the ballot total. Last year, 403 votes were cast on Day One, and in 2019 — the last in-person election prior to 2022 — 840 votes were cast at the JFR voting booth on the first day of polling. In 2020, around 50% exit polling data accounted for the total ballot count, with 30% in 2019 (likely due to the large voter turnout).
Today, voting will open at Jane Foss Russell, as well as Fisher Library, Manning House, and the Conservatorium of Music. See the bottom of this article for the full polling schedule.
Harrison Brennan sits in the lead, with 57.1% of the votes in Honi exit polls. As the day drew to a close, Revive’s Rose Donnelly tightened the gap between the two candidates, to end the day with 42.9%. Though the figures from Day One are bound to change, and could easily be completely different, it is likely that the final exit poll results will reflect the final voting outcomes. That being said, it is worth noting that this is contingent on how representative the sample set of voters who completed the exit polls are of the total voting population.
The picture of factional representation in the 96th SRC is a little less certain, with Honi recording first preferences for SRC Council in exit polling. As there are two long days of voting ahead, voting trends may shift. Though there were considerable percentage swings in last year’s election, with as large as 7% swings from Day One to Day Two, the overall trends remained the same — Left Action and Switchroots (Grassroots and Switch collectively) were ahead on Day One, and ended up holding the most seats in this year’s Council.
As it stands, Left Action is in the lead, with 22.2% of the primary vote. They had a significant presence on the ground, and targeted both sides of campus. Likewise, Revive, coming in second place and sitting at 19.1%, saw an increase in their performance in comparison to last year, where they sat at 10.3% after Day One. Grassroots follows just behind Revive, with 16.5% of the primary vote. Switch received 6.1% of the primary vote — leaving “Switchroots” sitting with 22.6%.
LIFT, large on antics, didn’t let their one kilo dumbell slow them down — finishing in fourth place, with 10.9% of the primary vote. Several self-identified LIFT voters who were exit-polled mentioned to Honi that they did not cast a vote at all in the Presidential election. LIFT candidate Satvik Sharma, was disqualified earlier this year for alleged forgery.
This year also saw a new lid designed for the ballot box, with the gap to insert the ballot being thinner than previous years. Many ballots struggled to fall down through the hole, with election workers having to remind students to fold their large council ballots (white paper) “in half and then half again”. If you have yet to vote, it would be wise to fold this one before you head up to drop it off.
Day One saw sunburnt necks and factional squabbles — but did not provide any definitive answers on which way this election will go. These numbers are preliminary, and there remains a margin of error. Honi hopes to see you voting at the polls tomorrow. And please, remember the sunscreen.
Stay tuned for Honi’s live blog, tweets and exit polling results tomorrow. To read yesterday’s live blog click here.
On-campus polling will be held on the 19th, 20th, and 21st, September 2023:
|Jane Foss Russell:||Tues-Thurs||8:45am-5:15pm|
|Fisher Library:||Wed & Thurs||8:45am-5:15pm|
|Manning House:||Wed||10:45am – 3:15pm|
|Conservatorium of Music:||Wed||10:30am – 3:30pm|
|Susan Wakhil Health Building:||Thurs||10:45am – 3:15pm|
|Peter Nicol Russell Building:||Thurs||10:45am – 3:15pm|