USU ELECTION COVERAGE DAY TWO
WORDS BY EDEN FAITHFULL & JOSH WOOLLER
Welcome to Pulp’s second day of election coverage! Yesterday, we brought you the exclusive exit poll results for ISL and Manning polling booths, and today we are bringing you candidate-by-candidate analysis of the election. But first, here’s a recap of the day.
All quiet on the Eastern Front
From 10.00am this morning since the opening of polls, campaigning hotspot Eastern Avenue was a brightly-coloured ghost town, with savvy voters spotted darting around the campaigners leading down to Manning, and many more making the trek across the quad to avoid eager candidates and their well-practised spiels.
ISL was also similarly abandoned with lines ranging from one to four people between 11.00am and 12.00pm. Inexplicably, the wait per voter was still up to ten minutes, with only two computers available. Sijia (Jackie) Xu, Hengjie Sun’s campaign manager, asked me to publish that he’s very upset with how inefficient the voting system is.
Pulp also spoke to NLS candidate Adam Torres, who claimed that he was having a little bit of trouble engaging with the already election-exhausted voters.
“People are starting to get angry about all this, but I guess that’s just democracy for you,” he said.
‘Independent’ candidate Jacob Masina also lamented the lack of engagement, noting that “campaigners are outnumbering voters at least three to one”.
RIP all those campaigners that were sent to SCA
Pulp’s eyes and ears over at satellite campus Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) reported that from the opening of the polls at 11.00am until the time of writing, 1.00pm, only a single vote was cast. Preliminary exit polling concluded this vote was given to Adam Torres.
Update: (2.00pm): Four votes were cast at SCA. All four were for Torres. Congratulations Adam, for winning 100% of the votes cast at SCA so far.
Puppers for USU
At least two handsome doggos have been spotted along the campaign trail. Please give your dogs some rest and water, guys. They deserve better than this.
Both dogs have clearly seamlessly assimilated into the stupol environment into which they have been brought, as they are now at each other's throats on Manning road. This is what happens when you bring such pure puppers into such an awful, awful environment.
That’s about it
Not very much happened today guys. Sorry.
Today’s candidate analysis
(complete with a few choice phrases Pulp noted down while interviewing potential voters)
After a strong standing in yesterday’s exit poll results, Torres and his campaigners came out in full force today, despite a weak flow of voters. Many of his campaigners seem to be relying on the ‘free sexual health tests on campus’ policy, despite the fact that he’s been widely criticised for co-opting an already existing program.
Torres was one of the few candidates to have actually sent one of his campaigners, Daniel Ergas, off to satellite campus SCA. Ergas must be congratulated for allegedly bagging all four votes that were cast at SCA for Torres.
According to Honi Soit’s live blog, Torres was leading the Manning polling booth at around 1.00pm today and is expected to perform very well come the end of voting tomorrow afternoon, so long as his campaigners don’t begin to get complacent.
Word on the street: “Yeah he’s the guy with the pink shirts! He’s also super cute. I hope he wins. I’m not going to vote, but I hope he wins”.
Despite having been excluded from the race last week, Wang seems to be performing fairly well, polling within the top six according to Pulp’s exit poll results yesterday. There appears to be considerably more enthusiasm surrounding her candidacy since the exclusion, as many students believe she had fallen victim to electoral racism, along with many rumours floating around that she had even been ‘set up’ by another candidate vying for a position on the Board.
Unfortunately, Wang told Pulp that the five-day ban did not allow her time to organise or print any ‘how to votes’, meaning that prospective Wang voters will not be following any predetermined preference scheme. Nor will Wang have any material to stack on top of other brightly-coloured leaflets in the hands of voters as they cross the exclusion zone: a tried and testing stupol tradition.
Word on the street: “Oh is she back in!? That’s great, I felt really sorry for her”.
After Sun’s stellar performance at ISL yesterday, placing him squarely in the lead in Pulp’s exit polls, it was expected that his voter turnout would have dwindled by today, with either the International student bubble bursting, or complacency among his campaigners. It appears, however, that neither of these prospects were realised as Sun continued to dominate at ISL today.
Sun’s campaign manager, Sijia (Jackie) Xu worked creatively both today and yesterday, after having been scolded for speaking to voters in Mandarin after they crossed into the exclusion zone to vote. Xu pulled out his phone and used an app that was designed to exhibit scrolling text. He stood on the edge of the line with the words “VOTE FOR SUN” scrolling across his head, to the amusement of many voters waiting to register.
“I guess that’s not against the rules” one polling booth attendant shrugged to the other.
Word on the street: “Oh yeah he gets things DOOOONE or something like that"
Despite not polling within the top six according to yesterday's exit polls, Shu’s enthusiasm was not marred today as he made his rounds across main campus and also to satellite campus, the Conservatorium of Music. We can’t imagine that Shu would have been able to secure too many votes there, consider that students at the Con are currently having a reading week and do not have classes on campus, however we applaud his tenacity.
Shu appears to be performing best at the ISL, with a steady presence of campaigners throughout the day who seemed to be some of the most energetic.
Word on the street: Yeah he seems really sweet, I like him and I don’t know why”
Salmon is undoubtedly this year’s dark horse candidate, with controversial policies and quirky campaigning methods. Not many expected Salmon to be out and about, considering the candidate does not have any A-frames or ‘how to votes’, and only a small number of anyone wearing her campaign shirt (and nobody appearing to be campaigning for her at all).
Nonetheless, Salmon was spotted for a number of hours speaking to students on Eastern Avenue in her ‘Make America Great Again’ cap, before retiring to the law lawns after an intense session of voter engagement. In fairness, it almost appears as though Salmon spoke to more potential voters than many of the official campaigners combined, many of who appeared have given up by midday in the wake of the slow morning.
Salmon only received one vote according to the exit polling that Pulp conducted yesterday, and there are not high hopes for Salmon’s candidacy moving into the next few days.
Word on the street: “I’m sorry I don’t know who that is”.
Once again, Masina had a solid day. It would seem he placed in a clear second place, which should fill his campaigners and candidacy with confidence. Of course, with just over 2000 votes expected to be cast tomorrow, it is important for Team Jacob to mobilise their voting base tomorrow and not to simply become complacent. Masina’s campaign has an aura of inevitability around it, and there is a risk that many of his supporters may not bother to turn out to vote, given his expectation to poll first. If Masina wants to ensure first place, and become the first Liberal-affiliated (yeah we know, you’re an “Independent”) student to be on the USU board in some time, continued momentum tomorrow is essential.
Word on the street: “I saw someone kicking down his A-Frames and I laughed”.
If Yang wants to do particularly well in this election, it is important for her to perform strongly at ISL alongside Hengjie Sun. It appears that so far, that has not happened, and word among several of the candidates is that her poor performance has been down to the inexperience of her campaign team. Despite her rumoured backing from the Chinese Students’ Association, it would appear Sally faces an uphill battle tomorrow if she is intent on eking out a position in the top six.
Rumours surrounding her candidacy’s involvement in the Chinese Embassy also appear to be scattered around the campus, with hushed whispers inculcating her in a myriad of government conspiracies. Naturally, Yang denies that any of these are true.
Word on the street: “She was really nice when I spoke to her”.
It appears as though McMenamin’s campaign once again spluttered today. Having had sizeable momentum yesterday morning at the Manning polling booth, the SLS candidate will need to mobilise the campus left if she wants to ensure a spot in the top six. McMenamin would perhaps benefit from an increased number of campaigners with more experience. Honi Soit’s live coverage today indicated that many of her campaigners were campaigning in the exclusion zone, indicative of a lack of specific campaign expertise. The other thing that must no doubt be concerning McMenamin is whether she’ll be able to cover all voting booths tomorrow, with such a small number of campaigners.
Word on the street: “Yeah I have no idea who that is, but I think I saw her name on one of those shirts. Those shirts are really bright”.
Gulbransen-Diaz looks poised to solidify a position in the lower half of the top six in considering her performance so far. Her biggest advantage are the experience of her campaigners, as Unity is known to be an electoral machine when it comes to student positions on Board. Though, if Gulbransen-Diaz was intent on finishing higher in the pack she would need to mobilise more college students. Unfortunately, the attitude amongst many of the colleges to the USU elections, as well as Gulbransen-Diaz’s campaign, is general apathy, as displayed by the small turnout of college voters. Aside from Gulbransen-Diaz’s network of friends at The Women’s College, she is unlikely to draw many votes from her desired college base.
Word on the street: “Oh she’s really pretty, I’m a bit intimidated by her”.
Tai had a strong showing today, so much so that she may even be hopeful of a place in the top three candidates come election night. It is possible, however, that Tai may be worried that not a huge amount of the University’s debating establishment have shown up in support for her. While she has consistently been strong on the ground with campaigners, the absence of some of debating’s big names may spark worry that her biggest voting base is divided amongst several candidates. Though, with her position in yesterday’s exit polls, Tai should be encouraged by her performance thus far. She also had two dogs campaigning for her today. Nice.
Word on the street: “She’s the one with the cat logo?”