Day 3: Well, at least it's over
Well, there we have it. Congratulations to Isabella Brook/Stand Up and Wet for Honi on their wins overnight. Absolutely no congratulations to Colin Whitchurch, who, for now, stands as our next Undergrad Fellow of Senate because (allegedly) racially profiling and harassing voters through the worst electoral system invented is somehow not enough to get you booted from the race. Ugh.
For everyone else wondering about Council and NUS results, keep an eye on this spreadsheet. Paulene wants a primary vote for councillors done by tonight, so we'll know what the quota is (and therefore some elected councillors).
I could go on about how miraculous a win it was for Wet - with far fewer StuPol links than the other tickets, and at the constant risk of being dwarfed by the ideological war between Sin and Time, they have done extremely well to win. Or I could go on about how Stand Up and Ignite won (or how Power lost, perhaps). But I'll leave that to the side now, because something else has caught my attention: a post I made on Facebook exactly two years ago.
Any of that sound familiar? With campaigners on both sides (...ok, mostly the losing side) saying similar things this year, let's go through some history again.
2014 was the year Kyol Blakeney and the Grassroots/Switch coalition ended up winning by a decent margin - it probably goes without saying that the reason why it was so nasty was because our opponents saw it coming, campaigning fiercely in response. It was a brutal election.
The following year, several amendments to the regulations surrounding elections were put to Council - drafted by myself, Riki Scanlan, and Georgia Kriz. They were, in some ways, deliberately controversial. A maximum of two campaigners talking to any one voter was seen as "undemocratic". Not allowing campaigning in certain buildings was "outrageous". It's almost like the changes were deliberately written to be controversial in order to negotiate some of it out so the rest of the changes could go though... oh, yeah, that was ~~exactly~~ the idea. But for Labor, it was an attempt by Grassroots (who had been consulted as much as Labor factions were) to rig the elections. They refused to turn up to meetings until the changes could no longer be used in the upcoming elections. Good times.
So, why bring this all up again? Because it was another similarly heated election - except with a real Honi race also meaning more people being drawn to these terrible tactics. College dudebros stood at the line and surrounded every likely voter and pushed the big A4 Time HTV into their hands. Wet and Sin campaigners played a terrible version of netball - trying to get in the way of each other to block access to voters, or get pushed/hit in the process and getting the other campaigner banned.
There were numerous reports of people being pushed into walls or hit by a swinging arm. There were several campaigners banned for repeated infringements, verbal or physical. I saw so many distressed voters literally run away from campaigners to avoid it all. No group was above it all.
It's a farce. It's an affront to democracy, an affront to any concept of respect and civility in an election.
There is no reasonable way of saying students voted "for" something. They did not vote "for" Stand Up, or "Against" Power, or anything like that. The winners of these elections are usually the ones most able to get scared first-years (along with women and international students, these are the target demographics for most campaigners) to go in and vote.
The factions historically least likely to want any change to election rules - NLS, Unity, SLS - are also very likely to have a clear majority of the council next year. So... expect exactly the same kind of behaviour.
If any incoming councillor wants a copy of the changes that were suggested last year, just ask. Until then, I'll still be writing here about results, a breakdown of what happened and why, and such.