Concluding the highly publicised ANUSA elections, a recount of the National Union of Students (NUS) ballot paper was requested by the Ready platform on September 1st, anticipating a redistribution of preferences between candidates.
Throughout the ballot count, candidates were excluded based on their number of first preferences, coupled with the secondary preferences provided by other candidates. Further preferences given to excluded candidates can vary widely depending on their political affiliation, which ticket they ran on, and their how-to-vote cards.
As such, even a one vote difference at any stage of counting has the potential to have major trickle down effects in the redistribution process. Ready asked for a recount from the point of exclusion of Priya De, a Let’s candidate, who had one vote less than Jed Buchanan, the next lowest candidate and fellow Let’s member.
Sam Duncan, 2016 General Secretary-elect, and one of the scrutineers during the ballot counting, stated that if Buchanan had lost to Priya on the recount, all preferences would be redistributed and the counting would have taken much longer, utilising both staff and resources, and incurring additional costs.
“I imagine their expectation was that if Priya gets up over Jed on the recount, Jed’s preferences may flow differently to the way Priya’s did originally and this could affect the final count.”
The recount took approximately 5 hours to complete, and 2015 ANUSA Election Project Manager Steve Ireland stated that:
“With the number and level of staff we had working during this period, Elections ACT estimates that the additional cost payable by ANUSA for the work performed on the NUS ballot paper recount was approximately $1,800 (incl GST).”
Ultimately, the recount did not see any change at the problem exclusion. Although there were slight differences in the final ballot count in the amounts of votes that each winning candidate had, this was not enough to significantly alter the margin of victory for the winning candidates.
The ANU NUS delegates for the 2015 are Laura Campbell, Odette Shenfield, Jack Gaudie, Eleanor Kay and Jed Buchanan.