Judge points to lack of verification of FST’s disputed votes…

Interesting piece in the Irish News today on the Fermanagh South Tyrone election result, in which Sinn Fein’s Agricultural Minister Michelle Gildernew pipped the Unionist Unity candidate, Rodney Connor by just four votes.

Ian Paisley Junior praying for DUP votes in North Antrim at the 2009 European Election verification in the Kings Hall ... or trying to see first preferences

Mr Connor will be raising the issue of why six more votes than were issued turned up in the final count was not investigated by the deputy returning officer on the night/day in a petition at a three day hearing in Dungannon next week.

The Irish News quotes the Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan:

“The court sees enormous difficulty if these votes are not identified.” He pointed out that if Mr Connor is right, “the six in dispute make all the difference”.

“Your evidence is likely to be that you have two witnesses who claim votes should have been rejected. The deputy returning officer who examined them decided they shouldn’t be rejected but be admitted.

“The court is not going to be able to see the votes. I have to confess, for my own part, I’m astonished, even if it did require the examination of 47,000 votes, that some process wasn’t put in place over the summer.”

Hmmm…. Next week could be very  interesting…

(Note that the image above illustrates the verification of votes in the Kings Hall at the 2009 European election and isn’t FST.)

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty