Why are you lot so useless at counting stuff?

This is absurd. It’s Saturday morning and nowhere near. Something must be done.
Seriously I know preferences etc. make it cumbersome but surely it’s time for technology to help. Input every vote into a computer and the elimination etc. stuff could be done in seconds.

  • youngpolitico

    Agree 100%

  • AGlassOfHine

    Is this the earliest whinge in Slugger history ?

    Over here we vote early and vote often !! 😉

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    Only in some things Dewi. If the count had been of a government handout we could have wizzed through the notes in the blink of an eye before pocketing them.

  • Cynic2

    The counting process was designed by the NI Civil service. What did you expect?

  • DC

    It’s like anything else, we’re just not up to it.

    This mirrors NI’s poor productivity rate in GDP per capita.

    The Northern Ireland economy has historically under performed across a range of economic indicators as highlighted by the continued gap in living standards with the rest of the UK. Although some progress has been made, particularly in respect of the growth in employment over the past decade, productivity and overall employment rates remain significantly lower in Northern Ireland.

    In addition to these labour market indicators, Northern Ireland continued to experience comparatively low levels of productivity. As Figure 3 illustrates, labour productivity (as measured by output per filled job) remained significantly below the UK average over the decade and stood at 84.4% in 20072.

  • thethoughtfulone

    I think it’s entirely appropriate that the elections for our new institutions should function in the exact same way as ones they are replacing functioned during their lifetime.

    As stated above, when was the last time our public sector performed any task efficiently, quickly, and competently.

  • As mentioned at the end of last night’s AV post,

    Across the eight centres, around 2 million ballot papers were verified and counted on Friday … Ignoring the verification of the three separate ballots at the start – which took longer than anyone expected – the time taken to process each round of the Assembly election is at least as fast as four years ago. Election officials are predicting that the end-to-end count time for the verified Assembly ballots will be significantly less than the 2007 election.

    So they verified three times the normal number of ballot papers – which took a while – and then started counting them at a very decent rate.

  • “Input every vote into a computer” and you get Florida 2000, Ohio … hanging chads, anyone?

    Why does everyone check the amount paid out by the ATM if computers are that infallible? Similarly with votes, it’s not the counting, it’s the seeing that justice is properly done.

    Believe it or not, the mill of NI government won’t be greatly hampered over a long weekend. After all, it’s not as if it achieves all that much.

  • DC

    Still the fact remains in relation to achieving results in line with the rest of the UK, NI when compared with the other regions / nations failed.

    Whether it needs more resources to do so etc who knows, it still failed to deliver.

  • DC @ 9:00 am:

    And that is the nub of the issue. Resources, yes. A limited number of machines (those bank-note counters work a treat) for specific functions. Computers and voting-machines, never: read the Wired account of what twice happened in Ohio.

  • Reader

    Malcolm Redfellow: “Input every vote into a computer” and you get Florida 2000, Ohio … hanging chads, anyone?
    Actually, no. The issue there was the antiquated *voting* technology. Counting technology is easy in comparison. But nowhere near as fast a people think. Turning pencil marks into computer input is definitely going to call for people to work the scanners and verify the OCR. But after *that*, the results will be available in a couple of seconds.
    Then people can repeat the process by hand over the succeeding couple of weeks, and not at overtime rates.
    If you don’t trust programmers, let a dozen programmers have a go, feed the same 40,000 ballots into each programme, and a minute later you can see who the bozos are.

  • Dewi

    What I did find strange over here is that we put the 2 ballot papers for the Assembly and the 1 paper for AV into the same box. Separate boxes would have been better. Did you have the same boxes for council, Assembly and AV?

  • Reader @ 9:32 am:

    Sorry: not going to rehearse that tedious discussion again.

    Hand-and-eye counting (human interface version 1.0) works, at its best works very efficiently, is trusted and is verifiable. Not a single ballot, usually, is harmed in the making of an election.

    OCR doesn’t necessarily speed up the process. UK Ballots are traditionally folded: in many cases folded repeatedly. People like it that way. That involves hands-on at the unfolding stage, which is also the primary sorting stage. To avoid endless jamming, OCR would require something less flimsy than the present paper ballot [“IBM student. Do not fold, spindle or screw.” — pained TCD joke, early ’60s, when automated registration was introduced.]

    As for the multiple boxes, why bother? Colour-coding ballot papers should work just as well, avoiding any complications of security and transportation. And it would be necessary to separate the inevitable “wrong-box” ballots anyway.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Reader:

    If you don’t trust programmers, let a dozen programmers have a go, feed the same 40,000 ballots into each programme, and a minute later you can see who the bozos are.

    The chances are you’ll get a dozen different results.

    There is no way to be confident about the result of a computer-based count. It’s impossible.

  • Actually it is possible to produce a verifiable computer count. I saw the technology used for an election in Venezuela.

    The voting machines produced 3 copies of the votes: one transmitted to the central counting centre, another stored on a memory card (so they could be compared to detect fiddling at the centre) and a printout that could be counted manually to detect biases at the voting machine.

    Note that they didn’t rely on computer processes to do all the verification. There was manual checking of computer results.

    Having said that, it is hard to get computer counting right, and most of the companies selling the technology take short cuts that save them money and could be exploited by hackers. But it is possible to get the scope of potential fraud down the traditional level produced by impersonation, the dead voting and so on.

  • Is it not the case that all the politicos and the media boys and girls set out their stalls for a Friday night declaration fest and were grossly disappointed to have to come in and work Saturday, hence they are rubbishing the electoral office. This was despite plenty of warnings that this was a two day job.

    Reminiscent of when the journos were stuck across the river from the Dome at the Millenium New Year. The celebrations were slagged terribly in the media for the next week albeit, apart from the river of flame (not), the millenium celebrations were magnificent.

    Take my advice Chief Electoral Officer, slip in a couple of more recounts, that’ll really piss them off.

    If speed of counting is now the primary performance indicator for pundits and politicos, perhaps we voters can help the tellers by all voting for one party. May I suggest the green party, that we we can feel good about ourselves as well.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dave:

    Actually it is possible to produce a verifiable computer count. I saw the technology used for an election in Venezuela.

    A perfect example of a place where democracy is seen to be done transparently.

    The voting machines produced 3 copies of the votes: one transmitted to the central counting centre, another stored on a memory card (so they could be compared to detect fiddling at the centre) and a printout that could be counted manually to detect biases at the voting machine.

    Note that they didn’t rely on computer processes to do all the verification. There was manual checking of computer results.

    So what’s the benefit of the computer count then ?

    Having said that, it is hard to get computer counting right, and most of the companies selling the technology take short cuts that save them money and could be exploited by hackers. But it is possible to get the scope of potential fraud down the traditional level produced by impersonation, the dead voting and so on.

    How can you prove that you have accomplished this in a way that does not defeat the purpose of introducing the computer in the first place ?

  • joeCanuck

    Dewi,

    On Twitter, quite a few have suggested that the reason we can’t count is that the Education Minister is a certain Catriona Ruane (formerly SF bird watcher).