An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Monday, June 14, 2004  

Local elections (II)

How does the Taliban identify the traitors you ask? Easy. Part of our wonderful system is that each party is allowed to have a personation agent at the polling station. They are allowed to challenge voters about their identification (very important especially as the Shinners are so adept at collecting polling cards). They have a register and mark off everyone who votes just as the polling clerks do. Afterwards the party holds onto the register and compares it to the tally. As the boxes are quite small and every one knows everyone its pretty easy to figure out what way people have voted. Admittedly this is really only possible in a rural area and the practice will no doubt diminish as the population increases and becomes more anonymous. But we can still go through the list and pick out the FG voters and figure out who voted what way. For example in our own box we can immediately count all the family votes, loyal workers, good neighbours etc. You're usually left with about 10 or 12 you're not sure of, and if the doubtful parties can't look you in the eye when they meet you on the street, you can be sure you've got your man/woman/traitor. Traditionally the information is also used to identify to a party what areas they need to do more work in. In an urban area you can identify a group of streets where the vote for a candidate was particularly low. You can be sure those streets will get special attention from the party in the next few years. One of the reasons e-voting was unpopular was because it would impossible to get this information since only the total votes would be announced, and the box opening and its treasures of info would be gone.

To address PO'Neill's question; true. The only advantage that e-voting had was that after the first count the entire vote of a candidate could be counted very quickly and the surplus distributed proportionally and therefore fairly. Bizarrely the government decided to retain the practice of randomly selecting the surplus and distributing it. As anyone in software knows, computers don't do random well and if they did make a mistake (e.g. select the surplus entirely from one box) a recount is impossible. At least with paper random you get genuine random.

posted by Sarah | 16:43 0 comments
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