Feed us with turnout data from your local polling station(s)!!!

I’ve just been on Talkback speaking with Steve Hewlett of the Radio Four Media Show fame and Wendy Austin about the general nature of the election campaign and the role of the Internet. One point I would like to make (and no, I didn’t get to make it), is about the capacity of an intelligent online readership to add significant value to the wider understanding of what’s actually going on.

Last year our readers were able to make intelligent guesses about the outcome of the European elections, because many of you were able to bring us publicly available data from the polling station and add a native understanding of the implications thereof.

Tomorrow Polling Stations will again publicly publish turnout data at three times tomorrow – noon, 5pm and 9pm.

This year and, importantly, in next year’s Assembly elections we aim to be more structured and forward thinking in this area. Over several elections we hope to gather and share public data in way that allows us to generate informed guesstimates on how overall turnout may end up, and delve into the granular detail of specific constituencies and smaller areas with differing demographic profiles.

We absolutely rely on your help in this process. So whenever you are in a polling station we ask that you to record the following information and add it on the relevant blogs that will appear tomorrow:

Constituency

Location

Box number

Total electorate

The specific number of people who have voted at noon, 5pm and 9pm

We have a limited number of polling stations with stronger data from the European election and would appreciate people focusing on ensuring we get figures from them as close to reporting times throughout the day as possible

St Kevin’s Falls Road

Crumlin

St Teresa’s, Glen Road

Glenbrook

Cooke Hall, Ballynafeigh

Dundella Infants

Nettlefield

Cliftonville Primary

Malvern, Lower Shankill

These are all greater Belfast stations, but of course we are keen to hear from you right across Northern Ireland, not least in the possible swing constituencies of Fermanagh and South Tryone and South Antrim. All we ask that you use the official data (anecdotal stuff we welcome by email, but not as part of this exercise) and provide all the information requested above.

This will be part of a long term and repeated project that could help us to build an interesting picture as we try to build a more public understand of how the real polling progresses. The more people we get involved, the less the burden and the more intelligently we can analysis the data as it comes onto Slugger.

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  • Framer

    By my reckoning there are over 10,000 people on the current, overall electoral register not eligible to vote in this Westminster election, including peers I presume.

    They would appear to be EU nationals who are neither UK, Irish, Maltese or Cypriot and peers.

    The electorate for tomorrow is 1,183,374.

  • jeep55

    Given that I live all of 50 metres from Dundela (only one ‘l’ in Dundela) infants school (and will be voting there) I will get that info for you!

  • Mick Fealty

    Great! Excellent. I cannot emphasise how important it is to get a good spread of turn out figures to giving us all any early indications of how its going, both now and in next year’s Assembly elections…

  • Just slightly too high. The Electoral Office for NI figures put it at 1,169,184, including 15,948 postal votes and 2,109 proxies!

  • Hi Mick,
    This exercise made the Euro poll very interesting. I will get you the data from Currie school, N.Belfast

  • Mark McGregor

    All,

    This time round the data from noon and 5pm may not be able to tell much but we have plenty from 9pm.

    We should be able to give some kind of prediction on turnouts generally, though as a first attempt it will be pinch of salt material.

    If we collect plenty of data this time spead as widely as possible it puts us in a better position for constituency turnout predictions (maybe breaking it down into different areas) next time which will be an Assembly election next year at the latest.

    The more information that is fed in the better placed we’ll be to turn out projections of value. Again I stress we won’t be able to provide much this time but we could build something of interest for the dead time between polls opening and tallies filtering through for the future.

  • I’ll get you the Limavady town figures because I have to go and get them anyway.

  • Framer

    Well from the same website they have a total under parliamentary election by ward of 1,183,374 not the other EONI figure you quote of 1,169,184.

    So which is it? And who are the missing 13,000?

    http://www.eoni.org.uk/28_april_2010_parliamentary_electorate_by_ward.pdf

  • Mark McGregor

    Great. We have boxes 17-29 at 9pm from last time. Can you and everyone else make sure and note the earlier figures too – more data the merrier for the longterm.

  • Paddy

    Hi Mick

    I will get the 9pm info from finaghy youth centre south belfast

  • Paddy

    is this info posted somewhere in the polling station or do we need to ask the presiding officer?

  • It’ll be posted up on a piece of paper – either on the way into the polling station, or just inside on the front of the desks. The official reason for it being made available is to stop party agents pestering polling station staff for figures throughout the day. So it has to be easily visible – as the folk collecting the are usually not meant to be in the actual polling station room.

  • Mark McGregor

    I have just realised this is an extremely labour intensive process from just organising the data provided in 2009.

    If people contribute a lot of material tomorrow there is the possibility of the processing making any nuggets we may reveal out of date by the time we do the number work.

    If anyone has an interest in crunching the stats to generate debate please feel free to offer your services – I think it’ll be needed.

  • mutley

    I can get Newry sports centre @ 5pm

  • Mark McGregor

    Good job. As long as it is reported in the requested format (and please grab the numbers for noon too) it will help with building a picture for this election and future ones.

    We could even start to identify areas that are more likely to exercise the franchise and ones not participating (Rathcoole from last time really stood out).

  • Paddy

    thanks Alan

  • Mrazik

    I can get Botanic Primary at 9pm.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Do you have to pop i before 5 to get the noon numbers and before 9 to get the 5:00 numbers. I could get the numbers from my polling station but no chance during work hours

  • Are there predictions on turnout? It’s one of the few things (further decline that is) an anarcho-syndicalist like me can look forward to at election time. Derry hasn’t dipped into the fifties since the 1924 election, which was, of course, an aberration and since it became Foyle it has moved between 67 and 77%, though mostly late 60s. NI is definitely catching up (or should that be down?) with the rest of Britain and large parts of Europe, particularly among the working class, and hopefully the trend will continue.

  • Mark McGregor

    Souvairne,

    We hope to give some early projections on turnout but will be working off new and untested data. Trial run for next year.

  • Lionel – no. After 9pm the noon, 5pm and 9pm figures are still all available on the same piece of paper.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Thanks Alan

  • Mick Fealty

    Paddy, can you get the earlier figures whilst you’re there? It will help for next year’s Assembly’s

  • Miriam

    I can supply the 12noon and 5pm figures for Cooke Halls, Ballynafeigh as it’s where I’m going to vote, but I’m at a Cathedral Quarter event this evening and won’t be around for the 9pm numbers, I’m afraid.

  • joeCanuck

    Mick,
    I know you must be incredibly busy but any chance of putting up an open thread for non-election stuff?