Splitters II: Just when you thought it was safe to go into a polling booth

It appears the cry of splitters can be put down as a shared tradition, in South Down at least.Links fixed hat tip Nevin.

  • Nevin


    your two links go to the same news item.

  • Crataegus

    Cunningham has every right to stand and if you agree with him vote for him. It is not splitting any vote if you use your transfers. If he gets enough votes he gets in if he is eliminated his votes transfer IN FULL to their second preference.

    As a matter of principle people should not vote for what ever parties go around claiming that this one or that one is splitting the vote. They are not they are lying and misleading the electorate. Is that the sort of representation you want?

    The correct thing to do is vote for who you want and use your transfers. There is no split if you do this but you may end up with who you really want and that is what really worries some of them.

  • What the provos who make such claims fail to realise is that people such as Cunningham and Hyland owe them nothing. They have no reason to stand aside any more than a provo candidate should stand aside to give them a clear run. The aim of the splitter cry is two-fold- a) primarily to encourage such independent republicans to stand down, or failing that b) to discourage voters from throwing their weight behind such candidates.

  • blab

    SF may fear that one of their could candidates go out before transfers from Hyland become available. This not splitting the vote exactly but it is tying some of it up until it is too late to be useful.

    I think a high first pref vote for the Greens in South Belfast must be the Alliance’s nightmare for the same reason – many will eventually transfer to Lo (perhaps passing through other minor candidates on the way) but she needs a large haul of first prefs herself to stay in the game long enough for these tranfers to help.

    Simiarly one of the Bobcats could tie up votes long enough to the detriment of other unionists, although not winning a seat themselves.

  • Crataegus


    The Greens will be well ahead of Alliance in South Down and I would imaging that many Alliance votes will transfer to Greens. In South Belfast Alliance will be well ahead of Greens and a high percentage of the Green vote will transfer to Alliance. In fact it is probably in both their interests that both get as many of their voters out as possible as it will increase the pool of transfers ‘in the centre’.

    If SF go out before Hyland then Hyland will probably be elected on their transfers. What they are worrying about is them losing a seat to him. Is that splitting the Republican vote or merely splitting SF vote? Or is it simply democracy. Hyland etc have as much right as Gerry to stand and if they float your boat then vote for them and use your transfers!!!! You have nothing to lose.

  • Nevin

    Perhaps it should be noted that the major parties stand in nearly all the constituencies so that they can maximise their NI first preference vote, even if they have little chance of gaining a seat. The DUP and SF would both like to be top-dog and folks like the ‘BOBcats’ can affect the outcome.

  • joeCanuck


    I applaud your continuing attempts to educate those who need to be educated about how STV works.

    Each time I hear a DUP (main culprits)politician (and some of their promoters here on Slugger) moaning about vote splitting, I can come to only one of two conclusions:
    1. They really don’t understand how the system works, which is pathetic given that we have been using it in N.I. for over 25 years, or:
    2. They are showing contempt for the electoral savvy of the electorate.
    Why? First preference bragging rights?
    Equally pathetic.

  • Ian

    “Perhaps it should be noted that the major parties stand in nearly all the constituencies so that they can maximise their NI first preference vote, even if they have little chance of gaining a seat. The DUP and SF would both like to be top-dog and folks like the ‘BOBcats’ can affect the outcome.”

    Doesn’t the total number of first preference votes come into play if, say, the DUP and SF end up with exactly the same number of MLA’s, in order to decide (1) who gets First Minister as opposed to Deputy FM and (2) who gets first pick of the ministries?

    In that sense, a vote for Bob McCartney could be seen as contributing to McGuinness’s prospects of becoming FM in such a scenario.

  • Crataegus


    You are right some are pathetic and others contemptious.

    I am comvinced that a high percentage of the electorate do not properly understand how STV works. Worse than that many political activists don’t. They know votes transfer in a vague sort of way, but on the actuality of it they can be a bit patchy. Of course there are also those who set out to deliberately mislead. Brand someone as marginal, no chance, no hope, no point and thus get the electorate to believe they are wasting their vote and war over.

    I was at a friends house in N Down the other night and that was what a canvasser was suggestion about one of the smaller parties. I think people doing this should be penalised, they are lying. We put up with a lot from our politicians that we wouldn’t from anyone else.

    So have made it my mission, if I see any howlers on Slugger to correct them. At least between now and when I head off again.

  • Crataegus


    The DUP are sitting with 30 seats and a few possible gains and no likely loses I can see. SF are sitting on 24 seats with 3 very unsure possible gains and 3 possible loses. It is highly improbable that SF will overtake the DUP. What difference will it make if they do? The Executive will still be an amalgam.

    However it is in the interests of both the DUP and SF to play on this possibility. Vote for SF and we will be the largest party, utter bollocks they won’t. Don’t vote for the DUP and SF will be the biggest party HO HO HO. It is simply sheep management. What both are interested in is keeping the flocks from wandering. If you believe them then Ba Ba aaah Ba.

  • Ian


    I didn’t say I believed anything, I was merely drawing attention to a pertinent aspect of the legislative framework that hadn’t been mentioned to date.

    You are quite right to say that some are over-hyping the importance of first preference votes, but you are perhaps guilty of the opposite i.e. over-hyping the irrelevance of first prefs, and I was merely trying to restore a bit of balance.

  • Crataegus


    Fair enough, I am interested in people voting for who they want. For me first preferences are primarily of importance in electing the people you actually want to represent you. Any unlikely hypothetical situation in the allocation of posts should be of secondary consideration. I would remind you of item 9 annex A of the agreement.

    The Nominating Officer of the largest party in the largest designation in the Assembly shall make a nomination to the Assembly Presiding Officer for the post of First Minister. The Nominating Officer of the largest party in the second largest designation in the Assembly shall similarly nominate for the post of Deputy First Minister.

    There is no possibility of SF having the post of First Minister unless they are nominated by the DUP!

  • BeardyBoy

    Can anyone remember the line Adams used when SF was first standing in elections and a SDLP man accused them of vote splitting?

    I think Adams rightly pointed out the they were not vote splitting but vote maximising.

    I agree with that stance.

    The greater the number of candidates and nuances of opinion the better representation we are likely to get.

    I will not vote in East Antrim as no one reflects my opinion.

    If I was in FST I would be voting – so no vote maximising or indeed splitting in EA

  • blab

    In the South Belfast example voting Alliance 1 and Green 2 won’t help the Greens at all, because it is extremely unlikely that Lo will have a surplus to be distributed. Even if she did the Green candidate will be out before it is distributed. For small parties 1st preferences really do matter (to keep them in long enough to benefit from transfers, of which of course they also need lots).

  • Crataegus


    Greens 1 and Alliance 2 would in all probability help both in this case, as Greens would have a mountain to climb here to catch Alliance in South Belfast. That way if Greens are eliminated the vote transfers in full to Alliance.

    If you prefer Greens to Alliance give them the 1st preference or the other way around if that is your desire, but use your transfers right down until you cant bear to continue.

  • blab


    the point I am making is that an APNI 1 and Green 2 will not benefit the greens – they need 1st prefs. If I prefer Alliance but would lke to help the greens, there is nothing I can do, unless I “tactically” give them my 1 knowing they will go out and then the vote move to Alliance.

    In reality neither of these candidates will get my first pref but I do always vote the entire way down the ballot paper – sometimes making very fine distinctions between candidates

  • Aaron McDaid

    Not true. The legislation later on says “but if the largest party isn’t in the largest designation, then the largest party will nominate the FM”.

    So basically, the largest party does nominate the FM.

    Search for “not the largest” in the Act