It doesn’t do to anticipate the opening of boxes and the counting of votes, but the one pre-requisite for a turnover in politics was a significant rise in turnout. And just from the indications we and others have been sharing all day it looks like that’s been achieved.
After one of the most dismal campaigns in memory, it looks like the counts they will provide no end of entertainment (and misery): for victors the spoils, and for the observers barrel loads of popcorn.
The DUP find themselves in a minority of one, with almost everyone else finding their base territories motivated. Here’s a good example from East Belfast. Compare Knockgoney on the very outer edge of this Unionist constituency:
With Short Strand, a nationalist enclave in inner East:
There is, of course, a rise everywhere. But certainly in Belfast Nationalist and Alliance boxes appear to have filled at a much higher rate than unionist ones, and middle class ones more than working class boxes.
It is very likely we will see the regular patterns of the last ten years broken. The question is:,has it been enough to signify real change? Verification of the vote starts at 8 in the morning, after which we will get the real turnout figure.
Hopefully we’ll get the first tallies towards the end of the morning. I’ll be live blogging from the count centre in the morning, and will hope to bring you the odd live interview via Facebook Live, with a break for RTE’s News At One Special.
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