Sun is shining, the road is clear?

In contrast with the mist and rain of 24th November, it’s a glorious day in Belfast this morning. A good sign? Things were slow early this morning in Holywood but there was already a trickle of early morning voters. The question remains for those at work, will the draw of Coronation Street and the Celtic match prove greater that the call to decide the fate of our politicians. Rumour has it that Sinn Fein are sending buses to the pubs of West Belfast to nip supporters to the polls.

  • Yokel

    I can report that things were slow at my two local polling stations in Belfast this morning.

    When I vote for the third and fourth times later on I will report on those stations too….

  • sms

    Mick
    Rumour !!! tut,tut

  • Marti

    I tried to vote this morning but my name wasnt on the list – and when I called the electoral office lo and behold – my name is on THEIR list! Any other glitches? I told the electoral office they’d better courier out the proper list!!! We shall see….

  • MN

    I was at my polling station bright and early, no canvassers there, perhaps I was too early for them to be up yet!!

  • James

    Polling was very brisk in Ballymena west this morning.

  • Yokel

    Could we see a Cubitt get in up in North Antrim?

  • James

    Oops, I meant to say, NOT very brisk. Very slow in Ballymena.

  • Neil Johnston

    Busier than the last time in sunny Moira

  • Yokel

    It’s always sunny in Moira, I hear they have enough money down there to buy a share of the sun just for the town boundaries!

    I assume you are the Tory candidate, Mr Johnston.

    How do you expect/hope to go and indeed how do you expect the rest of you guys to go?

  • Inspector Clouseau

    Remember Reg’s complaint about the DUP dragging the people out for an election in the middle of winter?

    Another wrong prediction!

  • smcgiff

    Quick prediction (wishful thinking?) – The DUP vote will be down, it wont transfer to the UUP or the other smaller Unionist parties (too small) and they will simply stay at home. Reason being a mixture of disillusionment and the knowledge the constitutional threat is, at worst, not immediate.

  • Yokel

    smcgiff

    Very possibly wishful thinking.

    I suspect most people’s vote numbers will be down, mainly in the solidily unionist & nationalist constituencies. Where they still feel they have something to fight for though the turnout will, as per usual, be respectable.

  • fair_deal

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/election07/article2332818.ece

    It is more than a rumour. It will be interesting to see how this cost is included in election returns.

  • Plum Duff

    ‘Rumour has it that Sinn Fein are sending buses to the pubs of West Belfast’

    Mick, your post was timed at 09:09. Are you in one of these ‘early’ houses, hopefully waiting on a lift home?

  • nmc

    The reporting is kind of off:

    Sinn Fein are so desperate to ensure a high voter turnout

    This isn’t a new thing, black taxis have been taking people to vote for years. So SF may be desperate to get people to vote, but what party isn’t?

    I would love to know how many people take the lift, then vote non-SF. The proof will be in the pudding.

  • Yokel

    I was wondering who the bloke was outside The Fort this morning…

  • Yokel

    I was surprised at the number of voters turning out but it was very sunny!

    Yes I am the Conservative candidate. I believe the Party’s vote will be up considerably but am not expecting to storm the barricades in Lagan Valley just yet!

  • joeCanuck

    The election shouldn’t take long to count. The BBC say that only millionaires are entitled to vote.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/6422879.stm

  • Mick Fealty

    sms,

    The Tele says taxis. But I reckon there will be mini buses in the mix!! More on this crucial detail later!!

  • Jonathan

    Turnout very low so far in Newtownards.

  • Bob Wilson

    Dont wish to get nasty but I’m afraid that offering people lifts using commercial services such as taxis or coaches may constitute ‘treating’ – an illegal pratice under electoral law?
    Doubtless Seamus Magee and Co at the Commission – having screwed up the Dirty Tricks and UUP Finances will watch this carefully

  • joeCanuck

    Might be true Bob if the taxi drivers were being reimbursed by a political party.
    But the article said that the taxi drivers were providing the service free of charge.
    Murky perhaps.

  • Entirely legitimate and hardly unique to Northern Ireland; back in the ’40s and ’50s in Britain, the Tories’ readier access to cars was a significant advantage if the weather was foul.

  • Peter G

    I can confirm that Slugger did indeed vote early today and that there is no evidence that he voted often. By 7pm the Hollywood Primary turnout was sitting at 45%. Hard to tell how the vote was going,but two observations. Firstly, there was noticable support for local boy Brian Rowan (he lives less that half a mile from the polling station). Brian and his family and friends looked better organised than some of the established parties. Secondly, there was no evidence of much of an effort being made by either UUP or the Tories, who used to be big round here.

  • bohereen

    it seemed very quiet at my local polling station, Belfast, at tea time, at least.

  • Turnout slightly up in Bangor at Rathmore Road and Clandeboye.

    No strong Alliance presence but strong Green presence at many polling stations.

    DUP and UUP out in strength across Bangor with no major presence for Bob.

    Some people remarking that they intend to vote for Bob as don’t want Sinn Fein in government but many commenting that it’s time for a deal.

    Rowan camp also seem organised in parts of Bangor.

    General feeling is that people are fed up and want progress.

    Even the damp weather hasn’t put them off!

    Will be interesting count tomorrow and Friday.

  • Crataegus

    There seems to be a slightly higher turnout generally. I wonder who it will favour?

  • Northsider

    Are there any exit polls available? Wasn’t there one in 2003?

  • slug

    Hard to say. I was expecting a lower turnout. People from the unionist community have been saying “what is the election for” because they can’t see an executive forming. I wouldn’t have expected a big unionist turnout from more traditional unionists. Interesting therefore that the turnout is up slightly – according to reports. I wonder if some of those people who don’t normally vote, because of negativity of NI politics, came out this time becuase of the more bread-and-butter type of campaign? We will soon enough find out.

  • slug

    Thanks Andrew Muir, by the way.

    Did you think your campaign in the SDLP went well this time? (I think you are SDLP, right?).

  • Yokel

    It could be a mix of more pro dealers and rejectionists coming out, or perhaps something to do with better registration compared to 2003 perhaps(?)…and the weather

    I have to say that I really did think we’d have turnout issues but people appear to have done the job across the country.

  • Gerry & the peacemakers

    Voting in Crumlin seemed pretty brisk around tea time. Took a look at the sheet where my name was and would say about 30-40% of the names were ruled out – so it seems south antrim vote is coming out. High turnout in Crumlin would favour Thomas Burns and Mitchel McLaughlin.

    SF were out with the loudspeaker at 9.30ish. This is usual at that time.

  • In wards of west Fermanagh turnout was 80%+ at the end of poll. Although this predominantly Nationalist area has always had a high turnout.

  • Yes, I’m SDLP.

    Think the SDLP fought a good campaign.

    Hard to call what the results will be. Will have to wait until later today for the tally results.

  • Junior Apparatchik

    I must have been around on a different day from Andrew Muir.

    Was at all points from Donaghadee to Holywood and saw nothing of the four main parties apart from the DUP, who were present everywhere. No UUP or SDLP at all. Meanwhile, Alliance was strongly represented at every polling station I visited bar Donaghadee.

    So can only agree on Rowan and the Greens.

    What is the point of all that anyway, by the way? Are people really going to change their mind at the last minute?

    Early prediction: Alliance to sweat in North Down.

  • Strongly disagree Junior Apparatchik

    Looks like Chris Carter will poll four times his quota with Deaglan Page picking up a seat alongside Elaine Martin and Alan Chambers.