Appeal to sluggerites – Election results coverage

As part of Slugger’s election day coverage, I am taking 8th March off work to provide statistical analysis of results. For this to succeed Slugger wants to recruit volunteer contact points in each of the count centres. We need this contact point to provide us with the full detailed results of the 1st count and if possible subsequent counts. A mobile phone will be essential plus the contact point(s) must be willing to keep an eye on all the counts at their respective centre and tear themselves away from celebrations/commiserations to contact us quickly with the results. If you are willing contact Mick or myself (fair_deal2005@yahoo.co.uk) with your details and the count centre you will be attending.Northern Ireland Assembly Election 7 March 2007

8 Count centres
1. Omagh – Fermanagh and South Tyrone/West Tyrone – Contact Point identified
2. Antrim – East Antrim/South Antrim – Contact Point identified
3. Belfast – East Belfast (CP Identified) South Belfast (CP Identified) North Belfast (CP Identified) West Belfast
4. Banbridge – Upper Bann/Newry and Armagh
5. Lisburn – Lagan Valley/South Down (CP Identified)
6. Londonderry – East Londonderry/Foyle
7. Ballymena – North Antrim/Mid Ulster (CP Identified)
8. Newtownards – North Down/Strangford (CP Identified)

  • Fair Deal, can you (or anyone else) help me here? I will take a day off work to catch up with coverage of the results via the web. As the counts will probably go on until the Friday, which day, Thursday or Friday, is likely to be the more interesting?

  • Thursday will be by far the more interesting Watchman, but you would be better just taking the afternoon off as it is likely to be early afternoon before first counts start trickling through.

  • Many thanks Sammy. And also thanks for all those profiles.

  • jeep55

    Mind you if you were an Alliance hopeful last time round, Friday afternoon was hard to beat when David Ford and then Kieran McCarthy just made it home by the seat of their respective pants! But I agree with Sammy – Thursday pm should be most interesting. One word of caution. If the counts you are particularly interested in are likely to have big surpluses (something I know they are all trying to avoid) it means that Count 2 and even Count 3 can be very long and the real interest comes in the evening. Worst cases last time for this were Peter Robinson in East Belfast and Jeffrey Donaldson in Lagan Valley, although I notice the latter is only being promoted in the Hillsborough and Dromore end of the constituency this time round.

  • FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS

    Dear Slugger,

    In many countries, elections are observed by both national and international monitors. Sadly, in Northern Ireland, domestic observers are still not allowed (although they will be at our next election), while international observation started in 2003, but it was a team of only three persons, and they were not even permitted to visit a polling station!

    As a result, NI elections still fail to come up to international standards.

    + These often stipulate that there shall be no campaigning on election day. In other words, the entrance to the polling station should be free of those party activists who often harass the poor voter with dummy ballot papers and so forth.

    + Secondly, while the party may be allowed to have an observer inside the polling station, he/she is not given access to the electoral register. Whether or not “Citizens Jo and Joe” vote is up to Jo and Joe, only, and political parties should not be allowed to see the marked register. In NI, it is the very opposite, and members of staff actually read out the numbers of the hapless voters as the latter collect their ballot papers.

    + The thing which is really wrong, however, is indeed illegal: this information as to who has and who has not voted, some parties then pass to their fellow activists waiting outside, who then drive off to round up any ‘stragglers’. When I reported an infringement of this nature at the last election, the returning officer turned the other way.

    In the hope that our forthcoming elections might be “free and fair”, may we ask all parties to ensure that their own polling agents do not use the inside of the polling station to further their own party political cause.

    Yours,

    Peter Emerson

    Candidate, Green Party, Belfast North.
    International observer for the OSCE at over a dozen elections in Central and Eastern Europe.
    Director, The de Borda Institute.

  • There is a difference between your opinion and what constitues international standards.

    These often stipulate that there shall be no campaigning on election day

    Sometimes they do, but I fail to see why. Parties often do good work driving up turnout on polling day, not just here but in other democracies; it’s common for activists to take the poll numbers of voters outside the polling station in England; giving out sample ballot papers gives information on parties’ recommended order of voting for vote management purposes – some voters find this useful.

    You may disagree with all of these things but claiming they represent a breach of international standards is gross exaggeration.

    Secondly, while the party may be allowed to have an observer inside the polling station, he/she is not given access to the electoral register

    I would personally find it difficult to spot personation attempts without one.

    this information as to who has and who has not voted, some parties then pass to their fellow activists waiting outside, who then drive off to round up any ‘stragglers’

    That is entirely different, already illegal and if a presiding officer refuses to take action, you should contact the police.

  • Sean Fear

    “The thing which is really wrong, however, is indeed illegal: this information as to who has and who has not voted, some parties then pass to their fellow activists waiting outside, who then drive off to round up any ‘stragglers’. ”

    Surely, it’s common practice for tellers to ask voters for their electoral numbers, and then pass these on. Canvassers then knock up those who haven’t voted. Is that illegal in Northern Ireland?

  • Not over here it isn’t, Sean.

  • Crataegus

    Sammy

    That is entirely different, already illegal and if a presiding officer refuses to take action, you should contact the police.

    Surely the point is it is virtually impossible to police as there are to many political types allowed in the polling station in the first place. We know some hopefuls will stoop to anything so we do need to tighten this up.

    Also large numbers outside the polling station could be seen as intimidating. It is not allowed in the South so why the need here?

    I would agree with P Emerson. Seems strange that we won’t allow international observers here yet we criticise the likes of the Ukrainians based on the reports of the same international observers.

  • Also large numbers outside the polling station could be seen as intimidating.

    Fine, then limit the numbers at polling stations (inside and outside) but I don’t see any need to restrict legitimate political activity unduly.

    Peter’s main beef as far as the observers go seems to be that his own De Borda Institute isn’t recognised. Well, I don’t see any grounds why it should be recognised. It’s a lobby groups. I know it’s de rigeur for the mainstream media to take press statements from lobby groups as Gospel truth, but I don’t have to.

    If legitimate, internationally recognised, observers from OSCE want open access to every polling station in NI, then great, I’d gladly grant it.

  • Crataegus

    Sammy

    Sounds like you have also been to one of Mr Emerson’s talks! If we set aside Mr Emerson’s more exotic pursuits and possible ambitions and without prejudice ask are any of his points valid? Whilst he is a colourful character I think he is sincere.

    We all know there is at least some abuse of the system here. I know that information has been and probably is being passed out of the polling station.I believe it is common practice in many areas. I have also seen serious abuse being handed out on the approach to polling stations.

    I would have thought that a tightening up would have helped parties like the Alliance Party?

  • Bill

    Why does NI have Assembly elections when the rest of the world has moved onto C,C++,C#, D, and Java among other cross platform ideas?

  • Bill

    How does proportional representation work. What does the ballot ask folks to vote on. A candidate and a partty?