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Irish electors are phenomenally unpredictable. I restrain myself from saying "illogical". Clearly there's a lot of very local politics going on, with the personality and record of individual candidates paramount. When one candidate is eliminated, it's rare to see much more than half of their preferences going to the logical successor... it's very scattershot.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 11th, 2020 at 08:02:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Geography also plays a major role. People want at least one candidate "from their area" elected so they can maintain direct access. Thus West Wicklow - separated from the more dominant and populous east by the mountains - wants its own TD and votes for that idiot Billy Timmins because he is the only West Wicklow based candidate. Carlow, dominated by the more populous Kilkenny in the Carlow Kilkenny constituency votes for and transfers to a Carlow based candidate almost regardless of party. Political parties try to "balance" their ticket by having candidates from both ends of a constituency. Gender can also play a role - e.g. women transferring disproportionately to women. Single issue - e.g. local hospital - candidates can draw a big vote and transfer unpredictably if eliminated.

I'm with you, its a great spectator sport, with candidates spinning madly and "fighting for their seats" during the counts long after the result is baked in the tin of uncounted ballot papers... I used to think computer voting makes sense, but actually it doesn't. The whole ceremony of the process is important with a lot of local involvement by count officials, counters, tally men and women, local analysts analysing votes by the box and knowing how many votes their candidate got on their street. There is a lot of trust involved - allegations of fraud are almost non-existent.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 11th, 2020 at 10:09:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, in a paper-based system (barring physical violence and tight control of the media), trust is not required : everything can be verified, challenged, recounted.

It's computer-based systems that rely on trust. It is possible to build trustable IT election systems (that any sufficiently IT-literate person can audit and verify), based on secure open-source programs, but I'm not sure it's ever been done by an actual country. And even then, it requires the vast majority of citizens to trust the experts.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 09:24:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland tried to bring in computer voting many years ago at a cost of many millions. The machines were never used because of court challenges to their transparency and auditability. It was specialised equipment that would only be used once every few years, so the economics didn't make sense either.

I used to be an advocate for computerized voting using standard web technology and security systems similar to that used by banking websites etc. Part of my reasoning was that turn-out rates are trending ever lower, partly due to out of date voting registers, people moving about more, being away in college while registered at home, and the sheer inconvenience of getting to a polling station.

Certainly the voting registration database update process needs to be moved online, but I am less sure about the actual voting and counting processes, even with open source technology. I think the community involvement in the whole process is important, and partly why Ireland hasn't experienced the alienation from the political process experienced in other countries due to big money involvement, nefarious on-line campaigns, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and dodgy Diebold voting machines.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 10:30:46 AM EST
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